Reflecting on Indigenous Peoples' Day
Dear campus community,
On Indigenous Peoples' Day, I want to ask you to join me in reflecting on the meaning and significance of this occasion.
This is the fifth year the university has observed the history, heritage and culture of Native Americans since it was renamed to replace Columbus Day in 2018.
The university decided to change the name of this day to better represent feelings of respect for the people who once called this area home. Cortland County was established on land that was the territory of the Iroquois Nation or Haudenosaunee, who were displaced by settlers of European origin throughout the 18th century.
I think it is important that we take some time to think about the contributions of indigenous people to American history. Native Americans have shaped so many aspects of the American story, from art and music to agriculture and the sciences. The inspiration for the structure of modern American government came not just from European thinkers but also from the example set by the Iroquois Confederacy.
One way in which you can learn more about the history of Native people is through the Native American Heritage Month Film Series in November organized by the university's Native American Studies program. There will be a mix of in-person and virtual film screenings. More information on this film series will be shared with you next month.
All the best,
Erik J. Bitterbaum