mage courtesy Tristin Moone, source:
A young girl, identified by her parents as Cherokee, observes the student protest at Columbia University on Columbus Day.

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."

mage courtesy Tristin Moone, source:

"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."

Image courtesy Tristin Moone, source:

Image courtesy Tristin Moone, source:

Image courtesy Tristin Moone, source:

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.

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Susan Stanton 's picture
Susan Stanton
Submitted by Susan Stanton on
Grandmothers Circle the Earth Foundation applauds your efforts and those who participated with you - non-natives here's a big hug too! - for graphically re-creating an ongoing eradication of Indigenous populations worldwide. For those of us who carry the scars of our Ancestors on Turtle Island we will forgive - but we will not forget! Nya:weh Gowa! Mitakuye Oyasin! Aloha Ke Akua!

Dodie Kuil's picture
Dodie Kuil
Submitted by Dodie Kuil on
Each person posing in this 'Die In; probably represents more than a million victims. I dont think people understand the numbers of victims from this genocide. Not only were they slaughtered outright but many fell even AFTER the initial invasion of their homeland but from the early days after Columbus's so called discovery many have died from failure to thrive. Many spent a short life slowly circling the drain as prisoners in their own homeland. Many died from alcohol. Many died at their own hands and continue to do so. Our world is full of complicated issues and struggles in every corner of the globe. I pray that those responsible for teaching our children will start with the truth about the origins of our relatively young country. You cannot thrive as a nation when your jumping off point is a fabricated history. Tell the truth. Only when we spring from the truth can we move forward in truth and understanding and learn from our mistakes and truly value every culture, every person, every nation.

Windancer's picture
Submitted by Windancer on
I would like to see Columbus day taken off the holidays that this country celebrates. Perhaps there could be a national holiday that honors the Native Americans, and an honest writing of the history of this country and the genocide committed by the European invaders.

ChanTlalok Rain-Cadena Castro's picture
ChanTlalok Rain...
Submitted by ChanTlalok Rain... on
Fantastic, thanks for doing it. In Mexico they changed Columbus Day to Dia De La Raza years ago. We need to get the politicians to change it also. The government should also honor Adolf Hitler and other world genociders as they do this Italian idiot Cristobal Columbus/Colon.