Current Perspectives: Indigenous Peoples Day

Marks of October 11, 2021 Indigenous Peoples Day, a time when many recognize and honor the history, heritage and experiences of Indigenous and Native American populations. As early as 1990 and in recognition of the past and ongoing genocide experienced by these communities at the hands of settlers such as Christopher Columbus and other non-indigenous populations, indigenous activists around the world have pressured states and countries to adopt the change of title of the commemoration. in honor of these communities and the realities of their lived experiences. Nowadays, 36 US states still don’t to acknowledge Indigenous Peoples Day as an official holiday, including in Massachusetts.

How are you going to spend this day? How important is it to commemorate this day in Massachusetts and / or as a nation as a whole (in the United States or elsewhere)? The University recognizes the day and the staff do not work with respect, but the professors and students always attend the classes. Should the University be closed on this day in commemoration?

Teacher. Cristina Espinosa (Heller)

Indigenous peoples refer to all populations who, after the colonial encounter, survived genocide, dispossession and exploitation, resisting ethnocide or forced assimilation imposed by colonial and postcolonial states. and by institutions promoting market expansion under Western modernist hegemonies. Indigenous peoples remain invisible, marginalized and under attack because their territories are rich in biodiversity and natural resources, which are precious assets in the era of globalization.

Brandeis, with its commitment to social justice, cannot ignore the rights of indigenous peoples to maintain their distinct cultures, languages, spirituality and ancestral territories. They must be recognized as key players in building democratic and multi-ethnic states and inclusive, just and sustainable development. The rights of indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities should be added to Brandeis’ agenda for social justice, as well as gender, racial and social justice, and religious tolerance and diversity. These subjects should be integrated into the curriculum through compulsory courses or homework.

If Brandeis made Indigenous Peoples Day a statutory holiday, students could attend different festive events held across all programs and submit an assignment for specific regular classes that could make room to include this topic. From 2011 to 2020, I taught the Masters program in International Sustainable Development as part of a graduate seminar on “Indigenous Peoples and Development: Challenges and Synergies”. Unfortunately, the struggle of indigenous peoples and their contribution for a holistic, just, ethical and sustainable solution to our environmental and social crisis still remain ignored by the majority of professionals and the public. It’s time to change that within Brandeis.

Cristina Espinosa is an associate professor at the Heller School for Social Policy & Management which teaches gender and development, globalization, indigenous peoples and ethnicity in development, among other areas of interest.

Teacher. Gannit Ankori (FA)

On this Indigenous Peoples Day, I will be returning from the Drents Museum in the Netherlands from the “Viva La Frida” exhibition that I co-organized with my colleague and dear friend Circe Henestrosa, a Mexican fashion specialist and curator. . The show highlights paintings, dresses, and accessories by Frida Kahlo that deliberately celebrate indigenous Mexican cultures.

Upon my return, the Rose Art Museum will announce artist Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds (born 1954, Cheyenne / Arapaho) as its 2021-2022 Artist in Residence Ruth Ann and Nathan Perlmutter. The Rose team and I know that the violent dispossession, enslavement and dispersal of multiple Indigenous communities and individuals by settler-colonialism facilitated the very existence of our museum here on this land. This residency will support the permanent installation of the artist’s series of spatial interventions, Native Hosts – the first in New England – which, in collaboration with the Indigenous communities of this land, insists that the forced seizure of Indigenous lands and the sovereignty of these lands be put into contemporary conversations. As we strive to restore relationships with Indigenous peoples and their lands, we are committed to actively learning, respecting and amplifying Indigenous voices by pursuing partnerships with Indigenous artists and communities. Inviting Edgar to the Rose is just one step in this long and necessary journey to healing and righteousness.

Gannit Ankori is Professor of Fine Arts and Studies in Women, Gender and Sexuality, and is Director Henry and Lois Foster and Chief Curator of the Rose Art Museum. She lectures on modern and contemporary fine art and on gender, nationalism, trauma, religion and other topics.

Teacher. Janet McIntosh (ANTH)

On Indigenous Peoples Day, we will discuss the pernicious legacies of colonialism in both of my classes. In “Anthropology of Military and Policing” we talk about the civil war in Mozambique, which began in the 1970s in the wake of Portuguese colonialism, and which was stoked by the white supremacist rulers of Rhodesia and Africa. Southern neighbors who feared would fall if Mozambique’s new black-majority government were to prosper. In “Psychological Anthropology” we will discuss the colonial imposition of particular patterns of kinship on indigenous societies in sub-Saharan Africa, resulting in complex and competing ideologies of what counts as “love”. In both cases, we’ll explore lesser-known ways in which European colonialism has been a shaping force and a source of pain. I would say my own preference would be for classes to continue into Indigenous Peoples Day, precisely so that this can serve as a time and space for more focused learning about the history, power, and experiences that have historically been under. -represented.

Jane McIntosh is a Professor of Anthropology, teaching linguistic anthropology, military and police anthropology, storytelling and speech, personality, and other anthropological topics.

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Estelle D. Eden

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