Genocide on the Quad: In NYC, Students Mark Columbus Day With 'Die-In'
On October 14, Columbus Day, a group of students at Columbia University staged a grim protest dubbed a "Die-In." In fact, the display happened four times over the course of the day; according to Tristin Moone of the Native American Council of Columbia University, about 60 different people participated, with each Die-In consisting of about 30 individuals posing as corpses.
"The goal of the demonstration was to show that when celebrating 'Columbus Day,' people are celebrating genocide and the continual effects of it," Moone told ICTMN. "This wasn't a cultural showcase, it was demonstrating the impact of colonization on Indigenous peoples."
"Of course it was filled with theatrics but with people running across this busy campus, this was effective to capture the attention of many," Moone continued. "You've probably never been a campus organizer with busy students, so the goal was just to have a protest actually happen and the support turned out to be very strong from, well, students."
Images from the protest elicited a couple of dismayed comments on Twitter (@Columbia_Native), which Moone also addressed in her comments to ICTMN. "In the context of being a Native student at Columbia University in the City of New York, the biggest problem is people know little about us Native people," Moone said. "When can we get past this? Seriously? Perhaps this style of protest or action isn't the most effective or beneficial but it is a start. ... We are students with schedules too but certainly are passionate about our own communities."
Moone told ICTMN that students from the Native American Council were joined in the Die-In by representatives from other groups, including LUCHA (struggle), Students Against Mass Incarceration (SAMI), Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), The Intercultural Resource Center (IRC), PROUD COLORS, Queer Awareness Month (QuAM), RadicalCUNTS (Columbia Undergraduates Not Tolerating Sexism), Chicano Caucus, Asian American Alliance, Talk Magazine, Mens Peer Education, Sister's Circle, ROOTed (Respecting Ourselves and Others Through Education), Barnard Columbia V-Day, Health LEADS, The FREEDOM School, Sigma Delta Theta, NAACP Chapter at Columbia University, and the American Indian Science & Engineering Society (AISES). Participants also came from groups in the broader New York City community, including Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee (NYC LPDOC), American Indian Community House (AICH), Idle No More NYC, Native American and Indigenous Students' Group at NYU - (NAISG), Undergraduate Students Government of The City College of New York and individual members of NYC/New Jersey.