When the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available for kids ages 5-11, most vaccinated parents will get their children the shot. However, this will also be a prime opportunity for those who are anti-vaccine to ramp up their efforts to discredit the…
Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebrates Indigenous Resilience and Persistence
Scott Stevens is the director of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Program and an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S). Philip Arnold is associate professor and chair of the Department of Religion in A&S and founding director of the Skä·noñh—Great Law of Peace Center.
You are welcome to quote their comments directly about Indigenous Peoples’ Day on October 11. While still federally recognized as Columbus Day, many states and local municipalities have moved to make it a day of awareness and celebration of Native American communities. These professors are available for interviews via Zoom to talk about this important recognition shift.
Professor Stevens says:
“I’m heartened to see that Indigenous Peoples’ Day continues to grow and gain traction in communities across the United States. There has been increased attention to social justice issues following the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and others in the last two years. Perhaps portions of the general population are finally also more open to acknowledging the legacy of settler colonialism that began with the European invasion of the Americas in 1492. Indigenous people have always been aware of this legacy, we live it every day, and we have long advocated that the majority society recognize the cataclysmic effects it has had on Indigenous peoples here and throughout the Western Hemisphere.
“While the European settlement of the Americas meant new opportunities and a better life for many European colonists, it meant devastating pandemics, genocide, and dispossession for millions of Indigenous people, as well as the advent of the Atlantic slave trade. All Americans should reflect on this complex reality. But Indigenous People’s Day is not only a day of reflection, but a day meant to call attention to and celebrate Indigenous resilience and persistence.
Professor Arnold says:
“The shift from Columbus to Indigenous Peoples Day at Syracuse is a welcome change. From Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests around the country to local efforts to fold in diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) into campus culture, there is a much-needed shift in the foundational narratives. Understanding the contributions of the Haudenosaunee, the Indigenous Peoples of the region that Syracuse calls home, include their influences on American democracy and the Women’s Rights Movement.
“We built the Skä·noñh—Great Law of Peace Center at Onondaga Lake Park, a few miles from campus, in collaboration with the Onondaga Nation and other higher education institutions in the area, specifically for the purpose of facilitating this shift in narratives.”
For more information or to schedule an interview with these professors, please contact Daryl Lovell, media relations manager, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 315.380.0206.