Students protest removal of Indigenous Peoples’ Day flyers

U.Va. Facilities Management removed the flyers as part of its policy to clear flyers from kiosks each week

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Members of the Latinx Student Alliance and the Native American Student Union gathered in the Amphitheater.

Xieyang Qiao | Cavalier Daily

 Members of the Latinx Student Alliance and the Native American Student Union gathered Monday afternoon in the Amphitheater to jointly protest the removal of flyers which promoted the celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. 

Approximately 20 students and committee members from both organizations were present at the protest and held a banner which read, “Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”

Charlottesville City Council voted in September to observe the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in lieu of Columbus Day, which had been traditionally celebrated on that date. 

Prior to Monday, LSA and NASU printed out roughly 600 flyers and taped them all across kiosks and permitted areas on Grounds. 

However, Deputy University Spokesperson Matt Charles said in an email to The Cavalier Daily that the flyers on the kiosks in Central Grounds were taken down by U.Va. Facilities Management in accordance with its policy which requires all posts on kiosks to be cleared each week. 

“On Monday morning, a U.Va. Facilities Management staff member removed posters that had become water saturated and were beginning to fall to the ground,” Charles said. “Normally, the kiosks are cleaned on Sundays, but that did not happen this past weekend so the crew cleaned the locations yesterday [Monday].”

Charles also noted that there is also a limit of one poster per kiosk with regards to the University’s policy.

Halle Buckles, a second-year College student and president of NASU, said the flyers were put in the appropriate permitted places on Grounds and she was upset by their removal.

“I have classes on Monday morning, and the flyers from past and weekend events are always there. I have never seen them being taken down,” Buckles said. “It is really disheartening to see our flyers being taken down. It’s very disheartening to see the hard work of so many people got thrown out of the window.”

She also said she hopes more people will recognize how the indigenous community was victimized by Columbus and hear the voices of the minority group.

“Columbus has been memorialized as the greatest discoverer and explorer who discovered America,” Buckles said. “A lot of us have indigenous backgrounds It is just a reclaiming in the sense that we have been here. We have always been here. It’s our resilience. … We hope more people will join us and hear our voice.”

Johanna Moncada, a second-year College student and co-chair of the Latinx Student Alliance Advocacy Committee, was also present at the protest and expressed similar sentiments.  

“There had been posters from a week ago that were not taken down last Monday. I’ve always seen flyers that were not taken down on Mondays,” Moncada said. “I think it is pretty ironic that one day after we had flyers saying Indigenous Peoples’ Day … they were taken down.”

Moncada emphasized the idea of solidarity and said the purpose of Monday’s protest was to celebrate the Indigenous Peoples’ Day rather than Columbus Day.

“The main purpose is to re-conceptualize the day, to celebrate the day for the people that were victimized by Columbus, and to take the attention away from Columbus,” Moncada said. “This is really just a movement about solidarity with the people that were victimized and with the same group of people that were marginalized today. We have allies and other identities here with us too.”

Rosibel Soriano, a second-year College student and LSA Advocacy Committee member, said she felt the purpose of the march was to raise awareness, not to put Columbus in a bad light.

“The purpose of today is to bring awareness to the fact that we need to celebrate indigenous people instead of bashing Columbus,” Soriano said.

Soriano, like other protest participants, said she was disappointed in the removal of the flyers. 

“I don’t think it is right that the posters were taken down. We are bringing good light to an issue that is related to the indigenous people. We are not bashing Columbus,” Soriano said. “It’s our freedom of speech.”

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