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Letter: Column offensive, but not worth censoring

To the Editor:

I sincerely hope The Herald reconsiders the removal of M. Dzhali Maier’s ’17 column “Columbian Exchange Day” from its website after it was published in the print edition last Tuesday, Oct. 6. While I agree the piece was ill-conceived and offensive, I believe the lesson you are conveying about censorship is far more damaging.

Views like those expressed by Maier, who I am shocked to learn is a science and society concentrator, need to be part of the dialogue if we are to correct the errors of the past.

I’m not sure where she got the idea that Columbus Day was established or even evolved to celebrate the Columbian Exchange, but there is no evidence to back that claim other than her own personal experience.

Meanwhile, her column completely ignores the personal experience of the millions of Arawak wiped out as a result of the practices established by Christopher Columbus, who would be tried for war crimes if he were alive today.

The atrocities committed by Columbus are well documented, and I feel no need to repeat them here. I am, however, grateful to have been among the hundreds who took part in yesterday’s protest hosted by Native Americans at Brown on the Main Green. I also signed the group’s online petition to rename the Fall Weekend holiday “Indigenous People’s Day.” As of Tuesday morning, that petition has nearly 900 signatures. As a socially, culturally and politically active member of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, it is my sincere hope that by next year the University becomes like so many other cities and universities by correcting this long-standing indignity to Native people and officially celebrating Indigenous People’s Day.

Paula Peters


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