Native Americans

If you’re a member of a federally recognized tribe or a “direct descendant” of one, you qualify for free tuition at the University of Minnesota-Morris, one of two schools in the country with such a provision for American Indians.

That’s proving problematic for the school, whose tuition-free tribal population has doubled in the past decade to more than 17 percent and is “expected to grow,” Minnesota Daily reports:

“It’s unusual for families to be able to find a college where Native culture is reflected as much,” said Sandy Olson-Loy, Morris’ vice chancellor for student affairs. “Especially sitting on a campus site that was home to an American Indian boarding school, which really tried to wipe out American Indian culture.”

Federal officials have offered a proposal in the House to “reimburse schools’ tuition waivers for out-of-state Native American students,” who are about a quarter of the tribal population at Morris.

One student getting free tuition says the school isn’t advertising the program enough:

Trey Goodsell, an environmental studies sophomore, is a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribe, whose reservation lies on land in both North Dakota and South Dakota. He said by not paying tuition, he’s avoiding debt after college.

Goodsell is also the co-chair of Morris’ Circle of Nations Indigenous Association. He said the group wants to educate more students about the tuition waiver, which has recently generated a lot of discussion among current and prospective students.

Read the story.

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To coin a cliché, “First World problems.”

A story in the Washington Post a couple of weeks ago details how Facebook’s so-called “real name” policy is negatively affecting Native Americans.

The policy has resulted in non-approval of various Native appellations, such as Shane Creepingbear and Dana Lone Hill. Ultimately, to register with the social network, these folks have had to provide documentation to prove their identities.

But to anyone with even a smidgen of objectivity, it should be patently obvious that the company did not intend for Native Americans wishing to join Facebook to go through the extra hassle.

But the Daily Wildcat’s Hailey Dickson doesn’t see it that way. She calls the policy “degrading,” “marginalizing,” and “subjugation.”

Zukerberg’s reaction to this Wildcat column.

To add insult to injury, the suspension occurred to Creepingbear on Columbus Day, otherwise known as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Another user, Oglala Lakota Lance Brown Eyes, provided Facebook with the requested forms of ID upon being suspended. After the situation had been processed, however, Brown Eyes logged into his account to find that Facebook had permanently changed his name to “Lance Brown.”

Public dialogue raises the question: Are these policies careless oversights on behalf of Facebook’s fraud detection algorithm or a form of racism requiring that social media users adopt more traditionally Anglo names?

Because only a select few Facebook users are required to prove the validity of their names, it’s obvious that Facebook’s policy reflects not just the goal to promote authenticity but a desire to manipulate users into adopting names that better fit into America’s accepted spectrum of “familiar” names.

Native Americans face scrutiny that the John Smiths and Mary Johnsons of Facebook will never be forced to encounter. This is, in part, because the “real-name policy” relies on community reports to deactivate “suspicious” accounts. Any user who comes across a name they think could be fake has the power to report that person to Facebook.

This means that the number of people negatively affected by the “real-name policy” is directly correlated with the cultural awareness of other Facebook users. Those with limited knowledge or those who are culturally insensitive toward non-European names are more likely to falsely report Native Americans.

After all, it would be better for a few misguided, fraudulent accounts to slip by on Facebook than for hundreds or thousands of people’s authentic names to be degraded and treated as jokes.

Whether or not the subjugation of its users was Facebook’s intention in establishing the policy, it is certainly the impact. Facebook has developed the most effective and damaging way to marginalize a group of people: Strip them of an essential part of their identities.

For what it’s worth, the WaPo says that (Shane) Creepingbear’s experience happened “right around Columbus Day,” not on it as Dickson notes. Added hyperbole, I suppose.

Does Ms. Dickson really believe that a company which depends on people from all over the world to sustain it — not to mention where three of its five founding members are Jewish, with one other a married gay man — has people sitting in its offices deviously devising ways to get non-Anglos to alter their identities?

Really? Seriously? What am I — stupid??

*Sigh* Implying some are “oppressed” due to an extra required step to join — of their own free will — a network is akin to those who yammer about the “bad influence” of talk radio … when all they have to do is change the station.

It’s highly likely the company will look into, and solve, this matter. After all, about a year ago, it responded to public demand and raised the number of gender options available to its users to fifty-eight.

Dave Huber is an assistant editor of  The College Fix. (@ColossusRhodey)

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Bowdoin College’s punishment of students who dressed up as pilgrims and American Indians at an off-campus pre-Thanksgiving soiree – calling it “cultural appropriation” – did not sit well with a civil rights group.

In an email shared with The College Fix, Michael Meyers, executive director of the New York Civil Rights Coalition, wrote to Bowdoin Dean of Students Tim Foster:

One is supposed to know, in advance, according to your missives, that off-campus parties that would offend your sensibilities and/ or those of some phantom, typical or actual Bowdoin grievant — especially around Thanksgiving time, and who dress in inappropriate, culturally insensitive costumes — would violate the standards and conduct code of Bowdoin. To that assertion, and expectation, I must say—from the perspective of civil rights, due process, and free speech and association, that your position is absurd—and your threat to punish “offensive” students outrageous and idiotic.

Meyers, who is black, said he was mistreated as a student by his own college for “being disrespectful of black students’ demands for group identity and black separatism”:

I suppose if I mocked such separatism on the Bowdoin campus — as I criticized my fellow black students (whom the college had backed) as inauthentic — as race hustlers — Bowdoin officials —possibly even you — would bring me up on charges of cultural insensitivity. I might even be threatened with “discipline” for having an off-campus party at which my friends dressed up as Black Panthers or as African chiefs, and who put atop our heads handkerchiefs or head dress or crowns or otherwise dressed in African garb such as dashikis – to make the point that blacks who paraded around as black Mau Maus were being ridiculous in their emulating so-called black African culture.

Meyers notes that the “very observation of Thanksgiving as an occasion” is offensive to some:

Who gave you the right to be the arbiter of good taste? To censor ideas? Who gave you the right to punish differences of viewpoint? Who appointed you as the arbiter of acceptable and unacceptable dress at an off-campus party, to which you weren’t either a participant or an invitee?

Meyers asks Bowdoin for some basic answers:

Was there a complaint about the off-campus party brought to any entity at Bowdoin against any student there? Or are you the complainant? Is it fair or proper procedure for the college’s dean of students to prefer charges against “offensive” students even as he [you] condemns the accused and predetermines their discipline? What kind of due process other than a kangaroo procedure is that? You have defined the nature of the offense, and you have already decreed the students guilty of offending and breaking the code of conduct.

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Political correctness knows no bounds at Bowdoin College, one of the worst universities in the nation

Bowdoin College men’s lacrosse players have been disciplined by administrators for how they spent personal time at an off-campus party to celebrate a pre-Thanksgiving meal with friends.

The “Cracksgiving” party took place just before Thanksgiving in a house rented by some members of the men’s lacrosse team. It’s called the “Crack House,” and “Cracksgiving” something of an apparent annual tradition. The invite asked people to dress up like Pilgrims and Native Americans, urging students to “wear your finest Thanksgiving attire.”

Fourteen of the 50 or so who went wore costumes, according to Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster, calling their actions in an email to the campus community “harmful” and a “racist act that perpetuates prejudice, promotes hurtful stereotypes, and demeans others.”

The school has taken “disciplinary action” against the 14 students, calling it “conduct unbecoming of a Bowdoin student,” Foster stated.

“For some, wearing a headdress and ‘war paint’ on one’s face and bare chest is just harmless fun. For others, it is cultural appropriation that demonstrates poor judgment and insensitivity,” Foster said in his email, sent Tuesday, reports the Bowdoin Orient student newspaper, which printed the memo in its entirety.

Foster was apparently shocked and outraged that some students dared wear the costumes, because in October campus leaders had tried to shame them over their dastardly plans.

“[J]ust a few weeks ago, in anticipation of Halloween and ‘Cracksgiving,’ student leaders held a ‘Cultural Appropriation Fashion Show’ hoping to educate students about inappropriate costumes,” Foster bemoaned in his email. “Many got the point and decided not to wear costumes to ‘Cracksgiving.’ But others, including some of the party hosts who knew about and/or attended these educational efforts, chose to willfully ignore the message.”

And now these conscientious objectors must pay the price.

“Dean Amaez and I have had several conversations with leaders of the men’s lacrosse team, and the team and their coach have discussed this situation together. Members of the team now recognize that these actions were hurtful, and they have decided that the tradition of ‘Cracksgiving’ has run its course,” Foster smugly continued.

But privately, students have taken out their frustration over the situation on Yik Yak. Foster’s not having it.

“[W]e will not tolerate attempts to silence the substantial ongoing student leadership and dialogue on these issues through malicious, personal attacks posted anonymously on Yik Yak and elsewhere—posts that cannot be described as anything other than cowardly,” he stated.

Cowardly? Interesting choice of words, considering that when students at Bowdoin freely exercise their First Amendment rights – off campus no less – they’re publicly shamed and disciplined.

Bottom line: Bowdoin is one of the worst colleges in America.

It received an F grade in October from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni for having one of the worst core curriculum graduation requirements in the nation, lacking basics such as history and economics.

What’s more, American history courses are not required for history majors and American literature courses are not required for English majors, a probe into the school by the National Association of Scholars found.

Furthermore, regardless of major, there is no foreign language requirement for graduation. But students are required “to take one course each in the areas of ‘Exploring Social Differences’ and ‘International Perspectives.’ There is no such requirement for anything dealing with America’s founding principles, commonalities, or culture.”

In addition to its horrible general education program, it was one of the first colleges in the nation to boot Christian ministries from campus because the Christian groups won’t allow non-Christians to take leadership positions, paving the way for many other colleges to follow suit.

Every year it takes naked pictures of some of its female students. Seriously.

The NAS study also found that Bowdoin lacks political diversity. With an estimated four or five politically conservative faculty members out of approximately 182 total faculty members, Bowdoin College is a predominantly liberal community that lacks diversity of thought.

In short, parents do not send your kids there. Just … don’t.

Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix (@JenniferKabbany)

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IMAGE: Dave Cobb/Flickr

Native American tribal leaders demanded “zero tolerance” and the expulsion of several University of North Dakota students after said students wore t-shirts with the logo “Siouxper Drunk” on them. The shirts also had a picture of the school’s old mascot, the Fighting Sioux, drinking out of a beer bong. University Herald reports:

Several tribal leaders, many of them former students of the University of North Dakota, met with representatives of the institution and the North Dakota University System on Monday at the state capitol in Bismarck about the issues. They also discussed creating an atmosphere of “respect on university campuses throughout the state.”

Leigh Jeanotte, member of the University of North Dakota’s American Indian Student Services, told Forum News Service Native American students at the university are considering filing a grievance with the Office of Civil Rights, and possible “informing tribes to not send students to the university.”

Jeanotte said the students feel they don’t have many other options.

Read the full article here.

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Students at the West Virginia-based Marshall University protested Christopher Columbus on Monday – Columbus Day – describing him as a mass murderer who launched the ultimate destruction of Native Americans and calling for the quasi-holiday to be abolished.

“Even in 2013, with so many facts out about the man, children are still being taught in school he was a good hearted man, even though he massacred a lot of the native peoples he came in contact with,” sophomore Autumn Lee told The Parthenon student newspaper at the public university.

“For the next 500 years, there was an emphasis on destroying Native American culture through conversion and education,” Lee, who organized the protest, told The Parthenon. “Even in the 1970s in Canada, there were still boarding schools where children were beaten if they spoke their language.”

Lee is a member of the Cayuga tribe of New York and Canada, according to the newspaper.

It’s unclear by the article if the protest was large; a picture of it shows one blonde female student holding a sign and not much else. The write up does not state how many students were involved in the effort.

But it’s not the first time Columbus has been disparaged by students or professors.

In 2007, Glenn Morris, associate professor of political science at the University of Colorado at Denver, called for the observance to be abolished. In an op-ed in The Denver Post, he stated:

Columbus Day … celebrates racist concepts of discovery, conquest and occupation. In fact, Columbus began the transatlantic slave trade with captured Indians from the Caribbean. Soon, Africans were forced into slave ships to replace the millions of indigenous Americans who were slaughtered in Columbus’ regime of invasion known as the Encomienda. For this crime against humanity alone, Columbus should be stripped of any accolades, honors or holidays.

Columbus Day is not merely a celebration of Columbus the man; it is the celebration of a racist legal and political legacy – embedded in official legal and political pronouncements of the U.S. – such as the Doctrine of Discovery and Manifest Destiny.

Stephen Martin, a graduate assistant at Oklahoma University, told the student newspaper in 2012:

“It could and should be a day for contemplation and reflection. Of course, we cannot turn back the clock, and we cannot reverse centuries of colonialism. But we don’t have to celebrate it, as if it were some kind of great triumph, either.”

Writing for Daily Kos in 2011, SUNY women’s studies professor Denise Oliver-Velez stated in a post titled “The Three R’s of Columbus Day: Robbery, Removal and Rape” that “as an anthropologist, I can attest that more attention is placed in the classroom to ‘Indian pot-shards and burial mounds’ than to the harsh political reality of life on the rez or in the urban off-rez ghettos of places like Minneapolis-St. Paul.”

She went on:

As a black American, I have a voice, a movement, congressional representation and even now a president who is cast in my skin color. Granted, that voice is often repressed, and I live daily with the affect of systemic racism on my community. We are 12.6 percent of the population as opposed to 0.9 percent for those counted as Native Americans and Native Alaskans reported in the 2010 census. And yes-there are those of us who are “black” who can speak of “red” roots as well. That same census shows 16.3 percent of the population as Latino or Hispanic, and we know that the history of rapine practiced by the Spaniards and Portuguese explorers did not extinguish indigenous DNA.

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