The Brown Undergraduate Council of Students enthusiastically supports the current proposal to change the name of the University’s Fall Weekend to Indigenous People’s Day, in celebration of Native American cultures and Native American resiliency throughout a history of oppression.
UCS’s support for this renaming stems from a desire to affirm our fellow students in their advocacy for this necessary change. We believe it is Brown’s responsibility to support its students, beginning with the name change and continuing with other policies to institutionalize support for Native communities at Brown.
In 2009, Brown renamed Columbus Day to Fall Weekend. This change was a step in the right direction, but simply neutralized the holiday. Now, Brown has the chance to make this break in the academic calendar an explicit recognition of Native Americans. We echo Native Americans at Brown’s statement in the Brown Daily Herald last semester, that “renaming the holiday Indigenous People’s Day has the power to transform the day into a celebration of the cultures and histories of the original inhabitants of the Americas.”
As representatives of Brown’s undergraduate student body, UCS continually seeks to amplify student voices, particularly those advocating for critical changes to make Brown a more inclusive and supportive environment for marginalized students. Native students, faculty and staff, local New England Native American communities, and Indigenous peoples all around the country and the world deserve this recognition and this day of celebration. We urge the Faculty Executive Committee to vote in favor of this name change.