January 24, 2011

UC Irvine's "Pilgrims and Indians Party"

Sick & Twisted Frat house has Pilgrims & Indians Party--Support AISA UCI!

By Aim Santa BarbaraThe American Indian Student Association at UCI is asking for your support and solidarity with us in regards to an event that occurred on November 23, 2010. In light of Thanksgiving, the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity at UCI decided to throw a "Pilgrims and Indians" party.

As soon as AISA was made aware of this event, it was reported it to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity and an official complaint was filed through the school. While the right steps were taken to ensure that our voices were heard; they were seemingly NOT heard. Although the school administration, faculty, and the fraternity involved were notified about the grievance filed and the situation; the party still went on. Advertisements for the event were still distributed throughout the UCI community through the attached fliers, Ring Road tabling and throughout the Internet via a Facebook event. To make matters worse, university shuttles served as transportation for students JUST FOR THIS EVENT!

AISA members have went out of their way to voice their opinion on the issue. Dedicated their time educating and explaining why this event was exceedingly disrespectful to the Native community. Yet AISA members were subjected to seeing students of all stature prancing around adorned in rainbow colored headdresses, skimpy "loin clothes" and warpaint. Making a mockery of our culture and a direct attack on our communities experiences for the sake of entertainment.

As university students and as Native community members, it is not acceptable for us to have to endure these repeated cases of hostility towards us as people of color and Indigenous peoples especially in an educational institution like UC Irvine that advocates its dedication to diversity. This events and others that make a mockery of peoples experiences and identity are not to be tolerated. They create a hostile campus climate for people of color that are not safe and welcoming. That is why we are taking a stand and making sure that our voices are heard at the University of California, Irvine. We will not back down, and though we only have a .01% representation on the UCI campus; our voices are loud. Numerous other cultural and campus organizations stand in solidarity with us. This is not an isolated incident to Natives or other cultural groups, and we demand that this outright racism and disregard for who we are as Indigenous peoples and disrespect of our culture stops immediately.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Miami's 68th Annual "Indian Party" and "Firewater Friday" at University of Washington.


Burt said...

You have to link this event with the equal racism of mascots and sports events in order to have any teeth in stopping it from happening again.

No doubt the school and its administration sat down at a board meeting and thought out any resistance to lawsuits or protests so I would hit them with boycotts and racial protests in recruitment of minorities and other groups that anti-mascot and against discrimination.

You have to expand the cause in order to gather support in the community and expose the harm in dressing up like African slaves, Jewish holocaust prisoners or Asian laundry workers.

Until then, this school is using a holiday to display ignorance and racism. Maybe we should all paint our faces black on Martin Luther Kings holiday?

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely ridiculous. This event was not held as an attack of the Native American community, nor was it a display of hostility towards these students on the UCI campus. Also, get your facts straight. UCI buses were NOT used for this event. The fraternity payed for buses through an independent contracting company.

Everyone is too uptight about racial issues on this campus--do you see any white people protesting because their puritan ancestors were misrepresented? That's what I thought. Just because the AISA wants national coverage equal to the "Compton Cookout" event does not give them the right to demand reparations for this event. Spend your time combating ACTUAL displays of racism and hate crimes, not attacking small college parties.

Frustrated UCI Student

Burt said...

To Anonymously Frustrated UCI Student:

Since you accept your ancestry to be less than a few hundred years old and enjoy mocking your culture as a baseless and fickled item subject to sale and profit, do not expect other cultures to follow suit.

Remember, not everyone wanted, or wants, to be a part of the great melting pot and not all non-natives take your harmless antics as ridiculous or non-hostile. You are continuing the recycled ignorance of past policies and legislation that actively sought and seeks genocide through entertainment and self gratification at the cost of another race.

Native people across the nation are being killed, raped and attacked violently while government legislates anti-soveriegn policies against tribes and native nations. Therefore, you are perpetuating ignorance within the white community while insulting natives.

How is this good for an alleged intellectual institution in America?

In Oklahoma every year, the University of Oklahoma has a Native Awareness Week that ends with an intertribal dance for all to enjoy. One year a FRATERNITY such as yours, unrinated and mutilated a tipi set up on campus without campus security and police kicking in doors to find the perpetrators. The same campus police that kicked in doors and pulled guns on Indian students for "being too loud" and partying.

What part of "racism" do you not get from being a mascot or acting a fool?

Rob said...

I just posted an excerpt from AIM Santa Barbara's Facebook posting, Frustrated. You can contact them about any inaccuracies.

Do I see any white people protesting because their Puritan ancestors were misrepresented? That question is irrelevant for a couple reasons.

One, white people dominate in our society. They're represented accurately most of the time because they control the representations.

Two, Pilgrims are represented with reasonable accuracy in most Thanksgiving pageants and related events. Indians aren't.

You're sadly mistaken if you think racism has to be intentional to be a problem. See The Magical Power of Intent for more on that subject.

Finally, no one's calling for "reparations," so that's a phony straw-man argument. What people are calling for is an end to the stereotyping of Indians.

Rob said...

For more on the subject, see:


UCI fraternity crossed the line with their “Pilgrims and Indians” party

Anonymous said...

The principle cause of the deaths of native Americans was disease, which the "white" man, including the Spanish brought without knowing it.

A similar event happened earlier, archeologists have shown, when Asian traders somehow reached the New World before the Europeans.

Political correctness is racism.

Rob said...

I've addressed the connection between disease and genocide many times, Anonymous. For instance:

European invasion = biological warfare
Educating Tony about genocide
Disease = invisible bullets?
Thank God for killing Patuxets

And of course my main posting on the subject, Genocide by Any Other Name....

Read these postings and educate yourself on the subject so I don't have to, okay?