OMA Celebrates Indigenous Peoples’ Week


Indigenous Peoples’ Day is yet to be a federally recognized holiday, but has replaced Columbus Day in roughly a dozen states. (Courtesy of Twitter)

The Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) is celebrating Indigenous People’s Week from Oct. 10-14. The week is being put on by OMA’s Native and Indigenous Peoples Committee (NAIPM). Indigenous People’s Week happens during the week following Columbus Day.

Columbus Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October, and commemorates Christopher Columbus.
He was an Italian explorer who came to North America in the 1490s. When he came to North America, he was responsible for the many deaths and atrocities committed against Indigenous people in the Americas.

As his legacy has been re-evaluated over recent years, many are calling to reconsider how the holiday is celebrated. Many institutions have even officially changed the name from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

According to NAIPM, the committee also aims to commemorate Indigenous culture throughout the week.
On Oct. 10, they started a daily social media campaign. Their posts are created in collaboration with other clubs on campus to spread information about Indigenous people and their culture.

“With Indigenous Peoples’ Day being on Oct. 10 this year, the NAIP Committee’s Indigenous Peoples’ Week serves to expand the commemoration of Indigenous peoples,” said Nicole Jara Andrade, a graduate intern in OMA. “It’s important to highlight Indigenous communities, historical truths that have long been romanticized and/or removed, and the work and resistance by Indigenous peoples against settler colonialism.”

On Oct. 10, NAIPM posted an explanation about why celebrating Indigenous People’s Day is important. They explained that both of Fordham’s campuses are located on Lenape land. Within the same post, they included ways to honor indigenous people.

Also on Oct.10, NAIPM posted information about Afro-Indigenous People and Black Indigenous people in collaboration with OMA’s Black History Month Committee. The post included information clarifying what both terms mean as well as a history of Black Native Americans, common tribes of Black Native Americans and books about Afro-Indigenous people.

On Oct. 11, NAIPM teamed up with OMA’s LGBTQ+ History Month Committee. In their joint post, they talked about a “two-spirit identity.” The term is used by many Native Americans to describe people who have both a masculine and feminine spirit. According to the post, the term exists outside of Western society’s social binaries and is “not interchangeable with LGBTQ+ identities and [nor should be used] to describe non-Indigenous people.”

According to Jara Andrade, the goal of collaborating with other groups is to teach people “about intersecting groups between Indigenous communities and other identity groups.” In addition to the social media campaign, Jara Andrade said that the committee is having tabling events to recruit more members.

Jara Andrade also emphasized that students and Fordham community members should understand the land that they are on was land taken from Native Americans and that Indigenous People’s Week is a good time to raise awareness.

“This week is especially important considering Fordham University is on Lenape land, so it’s important for students and all community members to honor the Indigenous land we are on.” said Jara Andrade.

Jara Andrade encouraged all interested students to join the committee. According to Jara Andrade, the committee is open to all undergraduate students, regardless if they identify as Indigenous or not. Students who are interested in joining NAIPM can sign up using their Google Form.