Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Native Students at Syracuse Univerisity Celebrate Indigenous People's Day

Scott Willis

Monday was Columbus Day on the calendar, but at Syracuse University and over a hundred other places across the nation, Native and Non-Native Americans gathered to mark Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Syracuse University sophomore Chase Scanlon from the Seneca Nation in Western New York and Regina Jones, Assistant Director of the Native Student Program shared their thoughts on Columbus Day.

"After learning so much more about Christopher Columbus... If you want to respect him, that's up to you, but he was not a respectable person. The biggest thing is respect. Can we respect the indigenous people of this land, rather than the conqueror?" Jones said.

Credit Scott Willis / WAER News
Syracuse University sophomore Chase Scanlon and his poster bring peers' attention to Indigenous Peoples' Day.

"Going to public schools, how history's been taught... They always looked at Christopher Columbus as someone good. That might not have been the case. He did a lot of cruel things toward Native Americans and in our community, it's hard to fogive that. [Indigenous Peoples' Day] means a lot to our community," said Chase Scanlon.

Scanlon continued, "I feel like a lot of people don't know that Native Americans still even exist. It's just bringing awareness to our people and [that] we're still here. We live amongst everyone else too, you know? We're people too. We're not extinct, right? This land, especially in the United States, was ours before. A lot of people don't know that."

About 115 Indigenous students attend Syracuse University, most of them from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at