Tufts Faculty Statement in Support of Indigenous Peoples’ Day

As Tufts faculty members, we write in support of the official celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, in substitution for the university’s celebration of Columbus Day.

Changing the name of this holiday is a chance for our campus to acknowledge and challenge the legacies of genocide and slavery of which Christopher Columbus is a symbolic and historical forebear. In this we join cities, universities and organizations across the country who renounce Columbus’ record as settler colonial governor (he directly oversaw the murder and enslavement of 7.5 million people) and the mythology of his “discovery” of lands and people who had been thriving here for many thousands of years.

Changing the name is not only about renouncing this history, it is an opportunity to reorganize ourselves in the present. We write in solidarity with student organizers who, in petitioning for this change, inspire intellectual debate and growth on our campus. By changing the name we can support the efforts of our students and continue to imagine how we can be organized better: with a greater consciousness of the university’s complicity in settler colonialism and toward the fostering of indigenous life and thought on and beyond our university.

In asking our colleagues to vote on Feb. 24 to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we see an opportunity to harness one of Tufts’ strengths—its commitment to critical thinking and conscience. Changing the name is an occasion to confront interlocking systems of domination, from histories of colonialism and slavery to the uneven resource distributions that produce endemic poverty and shortened lifespans today. It is also an opportunity to find new ways at Tufts to celebrate the flourishing traditions of Indigenous life and thought in the Americas—those stories of resistance and invention that the legacies of Columbus have never succeeded in erasing.

Signed,

Matt Hooley, American Studies

Adriana Zavala, Art History, American and Latino Studies

Lisa Lowe, English, American and Colonialism Studies

Amahl Bishara, Anthropology, Middle East Studies

Adlai Murdoch, Romance Languages and Literatures, and Africana Studies

Heather Curtis, Religion and American Studies

Pawan Dhingra, Sociology

Judith Haber, English

Elizabeth Remick, Political Science

Christina Sharpe, English, Africana Studies, Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Sheriden Thomas, Drama & Dance

Hyunmin Yi, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Natalie Shapero, English

Thomas Abowd, GRALL/American Studies

Julian Agyeman, Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning

John Lurz, English

Jean Wu, American Studies

Sarah Sobieraj, Sociology

Ronna Johnson, English and American Studies

Ken Olum, Physics and Astronomy

Tom Ozden-Schilling, Anthropology

Helen Marrow, Sociology and American, Latin American and Latino Studies

Sabina Vaught, Education

Gary Goldstein, Physics and Astronomy

Steven Marrone, History

Kendra Field, History and Africana Studies

Elizabeth A. Foster, History

Paul Joseph, Sociology

Monica White Ndounou, Drama and Dance, Africana and American Studies, Film and Media

Shameka Powell, Education

Kamran Rastegar, German, Russian and Asian Languages and Literatures

Jeanne Marie Penvenne, History

Joseph Litvak, English

Francie Chew, Biology

Lee Edelman, English

Steve Cohen, Education

Orly Clerge, Sociology and Africana Studies

Xueping Zhong, German Russian and Asian Languages and Literatures

Ricky Crano, English

Natalie Masuoka, Political Science

Noe Montez, Drama and Dance

Cristelle Baskins, Art History

Pedro A Palou, Romance Languages

Sarah Pinto, Anthropology

Jeremy Melius, Art History

Freeden Oeur, Sociology

Ellen Pinderhughes, Child Study and Human Development

Ann Easterbrooks, Child Study and Human Development

Elizabeth Ammons, English Department and Environmental Studies Program

Jayanthi Mistry, Child Study and Human Development

Modhumita Roy, English

Sasha Fleary, Child Study and Human Development

Keith Maddox, Psychology

Karen Overbey, Art History

Jess Keiser, English

Jonathan E. Kenny, Chemistry and Environmental Studies

Sonia Hofkosh, English

Nick Seaver, Anthropology

Cathy Stanton, Anthropology

Laura Baffoni-Licata, Program of Italian Studies /Department of Romance Languages and Literatures

Susan Koegel, Biology

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