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Group drops anti-Columbus murals banner in Hesburgh Library

| Friday, December 8, 2017

An activist group unfurled a banner condemning the Gregori murals in Main Building from the second floor of Hesburgh Library on Friday morning.

The banner, dropped by the Michiana chapter of the Rising Tide activism group, proclaimed “This is Potawatomi land! F— the KKKolumbus murals!” The demonstration occurred in the midst of an ongoing debate about the place of the murals, which were painted by Luigi Gregori and depict Christopher Columbus and Native Americans, on Notre Dame’s campus.

Recently, the Native American Student Association of Notre Dame (NASAND) organized a peaceful protest of the murals and a town hall to discuss their portrayal of Native Americans and community members signed a letter to University President Fr. John Jenkins advocating for their removal.

In a statement emailed to The Observer, Rising Tide said the banner drop was intended to support the Notre Dame students who have spoken out against the murals.

“White supremacy must be dismantled as part of the fight to preserve life on Earth,” the group said. “We will take further actions in support of indigenous people’s demands to address these racist murals.”

NASAND said in a statement emailed to The Observer that the group “appreciates that people outside of our organization are enthusiastic about getting rid of the murals.”

“These murals stir up strong emotion, especially in the people being misrepresented,“ the group said. ”We welcome more dialogue about the murals and the response from native and non-native students alike.

University spokesperson Dennis Brown said in an email that while the administration is not planning to remove the murals from Main Building, it is working with NASAND to alleviate concerns about them.

“The Columbus murals are of historic and artistic value, and the University has no plans to remove them,” he said. “ In addition, and as we’ve told the NASAND students, we are open to creating prominent signage about the murals in the central hallway of the Main Building.”
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  • DonHonda


    DAVE NEESE: Cleaning up our historical act

    “We must seize this opportunity to indulge ourselves in smug moral righteousness, in “virtue-signaling,” as it has come to be named. “

  • DonHonda

    Apparently, “native americans” were not the first “indigenous” people here in North America. Evidence is mounting that they pushed out a previous population of European-centric origin:

    The Smithsonian Magazine:
    The Very First Americans May Have Had European Roots
    Some early Americans came not from Asia, it seems, but by way of Europe

    The Washington Post:
    Radical theory of first Americans places Stone Age Europeans in Delmarva 20,000 years ago

    The National Geographic:
    Controversy erupted after skeletal remains were found in Kennewick, Washington, in 1996. This skeleton, estimated to be 9,000 years old, had a long cranium and narrow face—features typical of people from Europe, the Near East or India—rather than the wide cheekbones and rounder skull of an American Indian.

    Ancient DNA reveals that the ancestors of modern-day Native Americans had European roots. The discovery sheds new light on European prehistory and also solves old mysteries concerning the colonisation of America.


    • HolyHandGrenade

      Your logic seems extremely misplaced here. Those first generations you’re talking about are not the same as those subjected to the injustices of Spaniards, Americans, etc…

      Your argument isn’t that far from posting articles about how Germany had a genocide one time, and that somehow condones the same thing being done to their descendants thousands of years later. Your input may change perspective .1%, but it does not change the historical context of the past centuries one bit. Meaning, your opinion should be based on what was already known, and not something incredibly tangential.

  • Annette Magjuka

    I went to ND as a “faculty brat” (all five of us kids got to go to ND for free as a job perk for my Dad, who had his entire 50+ career at ND). I met my husband at ND, and two of my three children are Domers (my youngest was a D-1 scholarship gymnast). I graduated in 1978, a proud social justice Catholic. I truly believed that the marches, demonstrations, and civil rights legislation changed the world for the better. And the legislation DID change things, until recently, when the voting rights act was gutted, when Trump saw “good people on both sides” of the Charlottesville white supremacist march (where a woman was plowed down by a weaponized vehicle), and when I am forced to realize that racism and white nationalism is alive and well in the United States. When I was young, for a short time, my Dad was the director of admissions at ND. These were in the days of quotas. I remember my Dad desperately trying to find “qualified blacks” and other minorities. I thought it was the dawn of a new era, where ND and other universities would make a firm commitment to diversity. It has been almost 40 years since my graduation, and ND is still very, very white. I joke with my kids that they went to college at a country club. We go to many home football games, and now that there is a jumbo tran, I see the same few black students multiple times per game.

    When my husband was a graduate student at ND, he worked on the grounds crew part time. Most of his co-workers were latino. My husband became aware that the grounds workers at IUPUI, a few miles away, were making significantly more than ND grounds workers. So he went to the administration, seeking economic justice for these workers. Needless to say, he was not warmly welcomed. He started a union drive. The grounds crew, laundry, and food workers grouped together and voted for a union. ND promptly fired all of them and went to “outside agencies” for these services. The fired employees were allowed to apply to the outside agencies for their old jobs. Yes, ND was a union buster. Big time. Disenfranchised groups are used by big employers to enrich the corporation or institution. They are treated as a commodity, not people with dignity and bills to pay. ND, like most institutions, want low paid employees to be as low paid as possible.

    For black workers to have to pass monuments to white supremacists each day when they go to work for subpar wages is a lot. Of course, these workers are invisible to most of the CEO’s and high paid workers at a corporation or college students attending elite universities. All of the monuments celebrating the creation of esteemed American institutions rest on the ugly history of racism and suppression. ND would not exist without the land grabs from Native Americans. It would not continue to thrive without the low paid employees who clean up, prune that beautiful ND flower landscaping, etc. The question becomes, how do we proceed? Is a plaque acknowledging the rape and pillage of Native Americans enough? Is marching with MLK but then paying low wage workers the bare minimum OK? As Chris Rock says, “If you are making minimum wage, that means that if it was legal, you would be making even less.” What is the responsibility of ND students to really understand their privilege? I know “white privilege” and especially, “white male privilege” are triggers for many white people. They are outraged to hear that they have any responsibility for inequity in our country. But it is time for some hard conversations where we talk about hard truths of American history and continued inequalities.

    • Casper

      Wait – what? The Catholic Church doesn’t pay a “living wage” – – even with all its SJW talk? ROFL, sadly.
      Also, I think you must mean IUSB, not IUPUI?

      • Annette Magjuka

        Yes, IUSB

    • mdsman

      But you took the free education and every perk
      Go away
      Columbus never stepped foot in North, South or Central America
      The Island he did land on, has huge monuments to him
      You, dear, needed the “Dad Perk” as you are obviously not qualified

  • warmupthediesel

    So can I come to campus and hang a banner saying “Affirmative Action is Inherently Racist”? Will the University work with me to “to alleviate concerns” that some students are being granted admission to the University based off of race?

    Embarrassing the University will “work with” people who will bring profanity-laden banners to ND…especially when such groups want nothing more than to foster racially-charged hatred on campus. MLK Jr. wouldn’t support this garbage…neither should the University.

    • Annette Magjuka

      The university should have made far more progress with diversity than it has.

      • warmupthediesel

        How would “diversity progress” look to you, Annette? Removing as many white students as possible? Censoring every image/video/phrase that SJWs like you find offensive? Shutting down guest speakers with controversial viewpoints?

        • Annette Magjuka

          It’s not about removing white students. Of course this is ridiculous. It is about having a more diverse student body, which is good for all students. And of course I would never call for censoring every image/video/phrase that I find offensive. I do not endorse shutting down guest speakers with controversial viewpoints. I do empathize with POC who have to walk by confederate flags, monuments to white nationalists, etc. I do not think that history should be whitewashed. Hard truths should not be minimized for a veneer of altruism. I am not interested in a conversation about how white people are disadvantaged by seeking diversity in a student body. White people, specifically white men, hold the privilege and power in America. It is time for more voices and a broader participation in the systems we hold in esteem.

          • warmupthediesel

            It’s not just “white people” being affected by affirmative action. Heard of the Harvard Asian-American lawsuit? Your utopian attempts to socially engineer a student body have unintentional consequences.

            Removing merit-based acceptance from educational institutions damages universities. A perfect 5.0GPA Asian American student being rejected by a University like Notre Dame in place of a “POC” student with average test scores is disgraceful. There’s zero difference between such policies, and choosing white people over minorities. It’s racist by definition.

            At the end of the day, you advocate for viewing students by their skin color primarily….you’re the one with the problem…..not the evil “white people” you think are constantly oppressing the entire country. Ever met a poor white person? Ever met a white person from a broken home? Ever met an abused white child? God-forbid you ever view people as individuals…..may as well just call them “privileged” and continue your virtue-signaling. Regardless, it’s evident you wouldn’t care about them as much as a POC counterpart. Tragic.

          • Annette Magjuka

            Yes, I have heard of the Harvard-American lawsuit. To build a student body, having diversity is good for all students, and is a valid criterion when considering college applications. Multiple perspectives and lived experiences are enriching for all. Ever met a poor white person? I WAS one! I have met people in every category you named. GPA and test scores correlate directly to SES. If you define qualification as only GPA and test scores, the easiest way to fill a student body is to admit the wealthiest. (Which is embarrassingly close to what many universities do).

          • warmupthediesel

            Okay, let’s broaden the criteria then! Extra-curriculars, familial income, leadership, etc.

            Leave. Race. Out. Of. It.

            MLK Jr. had a dream….about judging people based on the content of their character…and NOT their skin color. Did you forget that?

          • Annette Magjuka

            I did not forget, although you are forgetting your manners. Why the condescending and scolding tone? You do not even know me. I do think the criteria should be broadened to include extra curricular experiences, character, recommendations, and lived experience. Test scores, GPA, etc. are also criteria, of course. But some students do deserve a shot since it is not their ability but the lack of access to things like AP and honors courses, test prep, rich or influential relatives (including faculty), etc. There is systemic racism. We have not done a good job of bridging the gaps caused by this, and my initial comment reflects this truth. I am not fighting with you, we differ in our approach and perhaps our goals.

          • warmupthediesel

            Here’s the impasse. You believe skin color should be taken into account when colleges admit students. I do not.

            You’d have universities judge students by their skin color before they even step foot on campus. I would not.

            Any of that untrue?

          • warmupthediesel

            Yeah….advocating for racial profiling probably conflicts with your white-guilt/SJW/identity-politicking code of ethics. Can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

          • Annette Magjuka

            I guess it is too much to ask that you treat me with a modicum of respect. I do not have “white guilt.” I am sorry you are so angry inside. Should color be taken into account as one criterion? I guess the short answer is yes, as one criterion, race, ethnicity, and cultural difference should be taken into account in order to build a diverse and interesting class with multiple perspectives.

          • warmupthediesel

            There you have it, folks. Annette advocates for sorting humans by the pigmentation of their skin. Completely against the message of MLK Jr.

  • WAP1102

    Subject: King’s Life Continues To Teach Us.

    On this day as we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King – I find myself thinking about not only the good that he did – but the fact that he did it in spite of not being a perfect human.

    I find myself recognizing that most men and women of great achievement were not perfect — were in fact sinners. Most of America’s heroes were flawed individuals —who made mistakes of thought, judgement, and action.

    Only Jesus and his mother Mary were sinless. And it was Jesus who challenged the prostitute’s sinless accusers to throw the first stone. They all departed.

    The spectacular but short life and teaching of Dr. King dramatizes the fact that we should recognize the good that people do and not their shortcomings.

    The current media’s obsession with the flaws of America’s founders — of America’s slave owners — of America’s confederates — of America’s current President and politicians — comes clearly to mind in the light of Martin Luther King’s legacy.

    May the media shift its focus on the good people do and
    are doing, and not their flaws, imperfections and misdeeds.

    William A. Pauwels, Sr.
    ND ’60