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American Indian Studies statement on the Oct 2 event at Assembly Hall

September 30, 2009

American Indian Studies statement on the October 2 event at Assembly Hall

I am writing on behalf of my colleagues in the American Indian Studies Program to join those students, faculty, staff, and others who stand in opposition to the event planned for Assembly Hall Friday, October 2, and I ask others to join us, as well.

People in our program have stood against these invidious forms of racial stereotyping and masquerade for many years, and our program remains committed to moving forward in creating an inclusive campus environment for everyone. Those who continue to engage in these actions that demean American Indian people exacerbate a climate of intolerance, abuse, and hostility that increases with each move further into the past of a sports mascot tradition that the University retired over two years ago.

The real failure here, of course, is one of leadership, and Chancellor Richard Herman, President Joseph White, and the Board of Trustees have abdicated their responsibility to lead us away from this painful chapter in the University's history. Hopefully, new campus leaders will swiftly and decisively steer us in wiser directions.

Because of the failure of our appointed leaders, others must stand in the breach. To those we join in standing against what is happening, I want to express on behalf of our program my appreciation, admiration, and solidarity.

Robert Warrior
Professor of American Indian Studies, English, and History