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NAISA: Our statement regarding hate speech at The Rock

November 7, 2021

The Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance condemns the racist and anti-Indigenous actions perpetrated by members of the Northwestern community at The Rock. As a community, we took time to guard and paint The Rock, and to acknowledge Native American Heritage Month. Our hope was to bring awareness to issues including Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and 2Spirit and the ongoing harm at U.S. Indian boarding or residential “schools.” 

Today, we woke up to hostile vandalism painted across our work. 

Ignorant vandals spray-painted over “Bring Our Children Home,” a slogan used to bring awareness to the 6,000 plus children found so far in unmarked graves across Turtle Island at the locations of these “schools” over this last year alone. They spray-painted over “Happy Native American Heritage Month,” a month used to celebrate, increase visibility and heal together as Native American and Indigenous peoples. On the side of the bench, we declared: “It’s Native American Heritage Month and it’s time NU is accountable to its history.” We further acknowledged Northwestern occupies Anishinaabeg lands. These truths were silenced with layers of white paint. 

Silencing Indigenous voices speaks to the climate of our campus and that our work here is never done. We first want to acknowledge the targeted statement against all Ojibwe  students, faculty, staff, and community members. We stand with you and extend our support to you in any way we can offer it. Second, we acknowledge what was written about Chinese land and we extend our support to all Chinese community members hurt by this racist rhetoric. Finally, we offer our support to all Native American and Indigenous students, faculty, staff and community members on and off this campus who were affected by these actions. We oppose the vandals’ actions and hope whoever did this understands the effect this had on our community today and forever on. 

We ask that University leadership take substantive and decisive actions to transform Northwestern into a welcoming institution for our BIPOC community. We demand acknowledgment of the racist and anti-Indigenous vandalism that occurred at The Rock. We hope this brings awareness to our communal fight against colonial power and its extension onto this campus. We have endured and will continue to stand up for our community and we ask for your support. 

We request a meeting with the Native American Leadership Council, Northwestern’s Board of Trustees, University President Morton Schapiro, Provost Kathleen Hagerty, and Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer Robin Means Coleman to plan a substantive path forward to create change needed on this campus.