“Antiracism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including within yourself.”
– Ijeoma Oluo
Every November, Colorado College honors Native American and Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month with lectures, lunches, community gatherings, and a long-standing tradition of erecting a tipi on Tava Quad. The tipi is a gift from our Indigenous community and provides an opportunity to share in the understanding and traditions that were once illegal for many to uphold in the United States.
The Native American Student Union tipi signifies the resilience and presence of Indigenous people and students. The word tipi means “to live at” in Lakota/Dakota, but a tipi is also a sacred place, symbolizing the interconnectedness of all things.
Sadly, last year a devastating windstorm destroyed the tipi and we were unsure if we would be able to replace it. Through much hard work, a replacement was acquired just in time for us to honor this tradition this year.
Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequence. We will always be a place for learning and supporting those who seek to grow in their understanding of others, but hate has no home here.
We would like to extend gratitude to all those who took the time to stand in solidarity at the gathering with NASU, as well as those who helped to set it up and continue to support it through monitoring and providing security. For those who wish to take a stand now, we ask that you make time today to consider your ability to impact this campus community. It can be as simple as interrupting the status quo. When someone makes disrespectful or harmful remarks, simply asking for clarification, such as, “tell me more about…” can force someone to reflect on their words and their impact. Don’t let these heritage months go by as simply a box you check off, but find ways to meaningfully engage by learning about issues that impact marginalized communities and by supporting local businesses and community centers:
For our Native and Indigenous community: We see you. We hear you. We stand with you. In the words of John Trudell and shared by Elder-In-Residence Debbie Howell, “Today is a great day to be Indigenous!”
Rosalie M. Rodriguez
Senior Associate Dean of Students for Equity and Inclusion