Seattle U Law celebrates Indigenous Peoples' Day
October 10, 2016
On October 10, 2016, the Native American Law Students Association, American Indian Law Journal, Center for Indian Law & Policy and Access to Justice Institute sponsored a reception to celebrate SU's inaugural recognition of Indigenous Peoples' Day. The event, held at the law school, included several speakers such as third-year law student Danielle Bargala, Father Patrick Twohy, S.J, Associate Professor of English Christina Roberts, CILP Staff Director Brooke Pinkham, and second-year law student Derek Frank. A large number of guests throughout the SU community turned out for the event.
Empowered by the City of Seattle's recognition of IPD and a desire to see change at SU, the Native American Law Students Association brought forth a proposal urging the school to remove recognition of Columbus Day from school calendars. In the spring of 2016, the NALSA students delivered a speech and resolution to the Seattle University Academic Assembly requesting the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples' Day.
The resolution read in part: "Whereas, the Seattle University is located in the City of Seattle and its School of Law offers the largest Indian law program in the Pacific Northwest..." On May 16, 2016, the Assembly unanimously voted to adopt the resolution.
During the October 10 event, addressing the large crowd, law student Derek Frank stated it's important to recognize IPD because "it creates the necessary foundation for our political system to accept its responsibility...for past injustices. The issues we are dealing with...have been fused into the daily life of society, which include systemic racism via case law, legislation, policy, regulation, and has even embedded itself [in the] ‘natural' convention of certain holidays on our everyday calendars..."
In a message to the SU community on IPD, President Sundborg wrote that: "It is critical that our university recognizes in this and other ways our special relationship with the Native peoples of this region. The very acreage upon which our university sits is the ancestral land of the Duwamish people...These and other visible and unseen manifestations remind us that our history as a Jesuit university is intertwined with, and inseparable from, the histories of the indigenous peoples of this region."
Seattle University now formally recognizes the second Monday of October as Indigenous People's Day.
Center for Indian Law & Policy