On Columbus Day, UNM Students Organize “Indigenous People’s Resistance Tour of the University of New Mexico”

Photos by DAVID CORREIA
Text by DAVID CORREIA & HARPER CORREIA-KUEHN

Albuquerque, like most of the rest of the country, celebrated Columbus Day this October 13, 2014. Native students at the University of New Mexico, however, celebrated it as  Indigenous People's Day and organized an "Indigenous People's Resistance Tour of UNM" as a way to remember European colonization of Native people's land as genocide and to remind people that UNM sits atop Native land. The day began when activists began a series of banner drops on various buildings around campus. Above, students dropped a banner from the Humanities Building.
Albuquerque, like most of the rest of the country, celebrated Columbus Day this October 13, 2014. Native students at the University of New Mexico, however, celebrated it as Indigenous People’s Day and organized an “Indigenous People’s Resistance Tour of UNM” as a way to remember European colonization of Native people’s land as genocide and to remind people that UNM sits atop Native land. The day began when activists began a series of banner drops on various buildings around campus. Above, students dropped a banner from the Humanities Building.
Banners were quickly removed by UNM staff. The one above was dropped above the entrance to the Johnson Center.
Banners were quickly removed by UNM staff. The one above was dropped above the entrance to the Johnson Center.
One of the organizers of the Indigenous Resistance Tour of UNM, Nick Estes, talks to marchers as they gathered southeast of the Student Union Building. He reminded people that the Red Power resistance movement of the 1960s emerged in bordertowns like Albuquerque. "An indigenous presence anywhere is always political because indigenous land is everywhere."
One of the organizers of the Indigenous Resistance Tour of UNM, Nick Estes, talks to marchers as they gathered southeast of the Student Union Building. He reminded people that the Red Power resistance movement of the 1960s emerged in border towns like Albuquerque. “An indigenous presence anywhere is always political because indigenous land is everywhere.”
Sam Gardipe was 17 when 19-year old UNM student and Kiva Club (UNM's Native American student group) President Larry Casuse was killed by Gallup police. Larry was a Dine activist who fought UNM's administration on behalf of Native students. "Larry taught me, by his example, that it's OK to say that we're not OK about injustice."
Sam Gardipe was 17 when 19-year old UNM student and Kiva Club (UNM’s Native American student group) President Larry Casuse was killed by Gallup police. Larry was a Dine activist who fought UNM’s administration on behalf of Native students. “Larry taught me, by his example, that it’s OK to say that we’re not OK about injustice.”
Rosie Thunderchief is a UNM senior. She told me she marched because she's "an indigenous women who wants to reclaim today for all indigenous people."
Rosie Thunderchief is a UNM senior. She told me she marched because she’s “an indigenous woman who wants to reclaim today for all indigenous people.”
Radmilla Cody was born into the Tłʼááshchíʼí clan. She is an artist, singer and outspoken domestic violence activist. She began the march by singing a traditional song of resistance.
Radmilla Cody was born into the Tłʼááshchíʼí clan. She is an artist, singer and outspoken anti-domestic violence activist. She began the march by singing a traditional song of resistance.
More than fifty marchers gathered behind signs and began marching south from the Student Union Building chanting " 1, 2, 3, 4 kick the settlers out the door; 5, 6, 7, 8 we are here to liberate."
More than fifty marchers gathered behind signs and began marching south from the Student Union Building chanting “1, 2, 3, 4 kick the settlers out the door; 5, 6, 7, 8 we are here to liberate.”

IMG_2623

Yale Park was the first stop on the tour. Estes told the marchers that the  massive billboard sculpture called "Cultural Crossroads of America", which depicts the collision of Native peoples and European colonizers, is "one of the few places on campus that celebrates indigenous land here in Albuquerque."  When Chiricahua Apache artist Bob Haozous first revealed his sculpture in 1997, he included a line of concertina, or barbed-wire, along the top of the sculpture. UNM refused to pay Haozous until he agreed to remove the wire. According to some Anglo critics, the concertina wire drew in too sharp a relief the violence of settler colonialism suggested in Haozous's sculpture. The wire was removed in 1998.
Yale Park was the first stop on the tour. Estes told the marchers that the massive billboard sculpture called “Cultural Crossroads of America”, which depicts the collision of Native peoples and European colonizers, is “one of the few places on campus that celebrates indigenous land here in Albuquerque.” When Chiricahua Apache artist Bob Haozous first revealed his sculpture in 1997, he included a line of concertina, or barbed-wire, along the top of the sculpture. UNM refused to pay Haozous until he agreed to remove the wire. According to some Anglo critics, the concertina wire drew in too sharp a relief the violence of settler colonialism suggested in Haozous’s sculpture. The wire was removed in 1998.
Marchers moved east from Yale Park along Central Avenue on their way to Johnson Field.
Marchers moved east from Yale Park along Central Avenue on their way to Johnson Field.
As the marchers peacefully marched along the Central Avenue sidewalk, a motorist in a diesel truck swerved across traffic to get close to marchers and gunned his engine in order to cloud marchers in his diesel exhaust. A marcher turned to me and said "that's settler colonialism."
As the marchers peacefully marched along the Central Avenue sidewalk, a motorist in a diesel truck swerved across traffic to get close to marchers and gunned his engine in order to cloud marchers in his diesel exhaust. A marcher turned to me and said “that’s settler colonialism.”
Sam Gardipe spoke to marchers at Johnson Field about Larry Casuse. Casuse opposed the nomination by Governor Bruce King of Gallup Mayor Emmett Garcia as an UNM regent. Garcia was the owner of the notorious Navajo Inn, a liquor store and bar in Gallup in the 1960s and 70s. Casuse knew it as a bar that profited from the misery of Navajo people. Garcia was also the director of the alcohol treatment facility in Gallup. Casuse objected to the hypocrisy. He kidnapped the Mayor on March 1, 1973 after years of trying to close the Navajo Inn failed. He was killed in hail of police bullets.  "I'm 58 years old," Sam told the marchers, "and I've been part of the movement for most of my life. I remember hearing about Larry and the Kiva Club, and we marched after his death all the way to Central. I was only 16-years old."
Sam Gardipe spoke to marchers at Johnson Field about Larry Casuse. Casuse opposed the nomination by Governor Bruce King of Gallup Mayor Emmett Garcia as a UNM regent. Garcia was the owner of the notorious Navajo Inn, a liquor store and bar in Gallup in the 1960s and 70s. Casuse knew it as a bar that profited from the misery of Navajo people. Garcia was also the director of the alcohol treatment facility in Gallup. Casuse objected to the hypocrisy. He kidnapped the Mayor on March 1, 1973 after years of trying to close the Navajo Inn failed. He was killed in a hail of police bullets. “I’m 58 years old,” Sam told the marchers, “and I’ve been part of the movement for most of my life. I remember hearing about Larry and the Kiva Club, and we marched after his death all the way to Central. I was only 16-years old.”
The tour brought marchers through the heart of UNM's campus just as students poured onto the plaza in front of Zimmerman Library between mid-day classes.
The tour brought marchers through the heart of UNM’s campus just as students poured onto the plaza in front of Zimmerman Library between mid-day classes.
The tour was met by bewilderment by many UNM students, but some, such as the student photographed here, openly mocked and jeered marchers.
The tour was met with bewilderment by many UNM students, but some, such as the student photographed here, openly mocked and jeered marchers.
Marchers next stopped at Scholes Hall, the home of UNM's central administration. March co-organizer Nick Estes read from an "Eviction Notice", which marchers had been posting on buildings throughout campus.
Marchers next stopped at Scholes Hall, the home of UNM’s central administration. March co-organizer Nick Estes read aloud from an “Eviction Notice”, which marchers had been posting on buildings throughout campus.

IMG_2583

A delegation tapped the eviction notice to the door of Scholes Hall
A delegation taped the eviction notice to the door of Scholes Hall

IMG_2702

The tour then moved to Dane Smith Hall, which was built on the former home of the Kiva Club and a building that housed the Chicano Students' Association. "Where are the indigenous spaces on this campus?" asked tour co-organizer Nick Estes. He pulled out a copy of the seal of the University of New Mexico and told marchers "to really look at this seal. It celebrates the genocide of indigenous people."
The tour then moved to Dane Smith Hall, which was built on the former home of the Kiva Club and a building that housed the Chicano Students’ Association. “Where are the indigenous spaces on this campus?” asked tour co-organizer Nick Estes. He pulled out a copy of the seal of the University of New Mexico and asked marchers “to really look at this seal. It celebrates the genocide of indigenous people.”
He lit it on fire
He lit it on fire

IMG_2732

IMG_2737

Meanwhile, another banner drop. This time on Dane Smith Hall.
Meanwhile, another banner drop. This time on Dane Smith Hall.
Richard Moore, of the Jardines Institute, talked to marchers about Chicano/Indigenous solidarity in the 1970s
Richard Moore, of the Jardines Institute, talked to marchers about Chicano/Indigenous solidarity in the 1970s
While Moore was talking, UNM President Bob Frank through the assembled marchers without saying a word. One tour-goer recognized Frank. She ran up to him and gave him a copy of the eviction notice.
While Moore was talking, UNM President Bob Frank walked through the assembled marchers without saying a word. One tour-goer recognized Frank. She ran up to him and gave him a copy of the eviction notice.
Frank took the eviction notice, turned, and walked to the official Presidential residence at the center of UNM's campus. The tour followed him.
Frank took the eviction notice, turned, and walked to the official Presidential residence at the center of UNM’s campus. The tour followed him.
One marcher posted the eviction notice on the gate leading the President's front door.
One marcher posted the eviction notice on the gate leading to the President’s front door.
Another group tied a banner to the gate that surrounds the President's house.
Another group tied a banner to the gate that surrounds the President’s house.
Keioshiah Peter told marchers that "we're here to create our own education. We're not here to learn the colonizer's language but rather to put our own knowledge to create our own education."
UNM student Keioshiah Peter told marchers that “we’re here to create our own education. We’re not here to learn the colonizer’s language but rather to draw our own knowledge to create our own education.”
"Where are we in the UNM seal?" asked Cheyenne Antonio, a UNM student and the President of the Kiva Club.  "I'm glad we're here," she told the marchers, "and standing up for ourselves."
“Where are we in the UNM seal?” asked Cheyenne Antonio, a UNM student and the President of the Kiva Club. As marchers dropped another banner that read “Fuck Columbus,” Antonio thanked tour-goers for participating in the march. “I’m glad we’re here,” she told the marchers, “and for standing up for ourselves.”
Advertisements

One comment

  1. Hahahaha in full support of what’s going on here. What i want to know, is who is this all for? If not for yourselves, if not for the next gemeration of Native Americans who oh so desperately want to expand their knowledge through the University. I know i may sound redundant when i say that, you should ignore all recognition towards columbus day and celebrate it in your own way, as in make signs that show gratitude towards all of the brave chiefs and warriors who helped and tried to protect this land with everything they had, why does this all have to lean towards hate against another race. I know of some people out there who have different skin and appreciate who i am, appreciate where i come from, and care for my education as a Native American. Why make these people feel bad and accused of doing something they had not even done. I go to The Native American Community Academy on ghe Law Campus here at UNM. Fight with words, fight with the knowledge that has been given to you over the many years. I know i will. Just watch someday it will be made Indigenous Peoples day from the east to the west coast.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s