The Native American Student Association of Notre Dame (NASAND) gathered outside the Main Building, organizing a peaceful protest of the university’s Gregori murals Monday afternoon. The aim of the organization is to obtain the University’s commitment to Native American diversity through a peaceful manner.Rosie LoVoi | The Observer Commissioned by Fr. Edward Sorin, Vatican artist Luigi Gregori painted these large murals, displayed in the Main Building. According to a statement by the University regarding the Columbus murals, Sorin wanted art that represented the Catholic spirit of the University. However, NASAND protested the misrepresentation of Columbus’ ways along with the offensive and stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans in the murals.The peaceful protest began with speeches from NASAND members, who spoke of the importance of Native American representation on campus, and was followed by a more informal forum, giving attendees the opportunity to ask NASAND students questions.NASAND president and senior Dom Acri discussed some of the problems associated with the Gregori murals. Acri talked about the University’s use of the William Faulkner quote, “The past is never dead, it is not even past,” and he said NASAND hopes to take back this sentiment and make people aware of Native American culture and significance.“In an attempt to address these understandably controversial, and what our group would even call openly marginalizing murals, we are reminded that like this quote suggests, we must recognize the past because it is still here with us,” Acri said.In addition to making students, faculty and administration aware of NASAND’s desire for greater recognition and inclusion from the University, the organization has detailed goals for greater diversification throughout the school year.Acri said the student group wants to be talked to, not talked about. NASAND wants to hold a town hall meeting regarding the status and further actions in dealing with the Gregori murals, something Acri said is strengthened by the involvement of allied members.“What we need is for people to get behind us and help our movement gain momentum,” Acri said.Among other important plans are the group’s hope to serve as a connection to the Pokagon band — the tribe whose land Notre Dame rests on. Acri said NASAND would like to assist in the recruitment of a Native American faculty and establish a Native American Studies program, bring back the Notre Dame powwow and achieve greater involvement in Notre Dame’s “Walk the Walk” event.“A diverse community strengthens Notre Dame’s mission and allows students to open their minds to new perspectives,” Acri said. “But when the only representation that we have right now is these murals, we don’t think Notre Dame is fulfilling that goal. We wanted to have this event in order to help Notre Dame achieve their mission.”Tags: Columbus murals, NASAND, Native Americans, protest
Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi found himself in hot water during a hearing with the House of Representatives on Thursday, as lawmakers on Commission VIII overseeing religious affairs criticized him for not consulting with the House before deciding to cancel the 2020 haj pilgrimage over coronavirus concerns.The minister announced earlier this month that Indonesia would prevent haj departures to Saudi Arabia this year, a decision that affected hundreds of thousands of would-be pilgrims in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation. Indonesia has the largest haj pilgrim quota of any country. John Kennedy Azis of the Golkar Party – a political party in President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s ruling coalition – questioned Fachrul’s sudden announcement of the policy on June 2, saying there had been no pressure for the central government to announce it immediately without consulting the legislative body.”There was no external pressure that we would be fined if we didn’t decide [on haj departures] quickly. Why couldn’t you wait for just two days? Why so sudden?” John said, referring to a planned House hearing with the government on the matter scheduled for June 4.The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with Saudi Arabia’s indefinite suspension of haj and umrah (minor haj), were cited as reasons behind the government’s decision to cancel this year’s haj departure. Fachrul previously said the conditions had left the government without enough time to prepare visas and protective measures.Indonesia initially planned to send about 221,000 people on the annual pilgrimage, and nearly 180,000 people had already paid for the journey, Religious Affairs Ministry data shows. The government said the pilgrims would be placed on next year’s haj. Read also: Religious affairs minister to lobby Saudi Arabian government for bigger 2021 haj quotaFachrul said at the time of the cancellation that he had communicated with the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and the House regarding the cancellation, but some lawmakers quickly fired back, saying he had not done so.John said to Fachrul – a retired military general – that he had made numerous controversial moves as a minister.The politician cited his past controversial support of a ban on the niqab in government compounds – a statement that Fachrul later backtracked from – and his past announcement of a plan to repatriate 689 people who had joined the Islamic State (IS) movement in the Middle East.He warned Fachrul that the House could use its interpellation and inquiry rights against him or could write a letter to the President if he continued his controversies. “Don’t underestimate us at the House […] This should be the last [controversial move].”John also highlighted a plan floated by Aceh to get their own, separate haj quota. The provincial administration was reportedly considering issuing a qanun (regulation) on the matter based on Law No. 44/1999 on Aceh’s special autonomy.”Regions are trying to apply for haj quotas themselves. If that happens, then where’s the government?” he said.Read also: Plan to ban niqab in government offices stirs controversyMuhammad Husni of the Gerindra Party said Fachrul had violated Law No. 8/2019 on the haj and umrah, which stipulated that matters related to haj funds should not be decided unilaterally by the government but should include the House.”Logically speaking, we should decide on the cancellation together. The Minister said that he had coordinated with House Commission VIII but we never knew that,” Husni said.In response to the criticism, Fachrul apologized to the lawmakers during Thursday’s hearing, saying the cancellation decision was not made by his ministry but by himself as a minister.”I personally apologize to the leaders and all members of the House Commission VIII for this incident,” said Fachrul.The minister explained that at that time, he felt obliged to announce the cancellation as soon as possible because it had exceeded the June 1 deadline for the government to announce the year’s haj departure date.Indonesia initially expected Saudi Arabia to announce its final decision on the haj pilgrimage – which attracts millions of Muslims annually from around the world – on May 13. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has plunged the 2020 haj into doubt as Saudi authorities have yet to announce any decision about whether they will accept haj pilgrims this year.”We needed to quickly give certainty to the pilgrims who had been waiting for the announcement,” he said.Topics :
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Morris, In. —The Morris Volunteer Firemen’s Breakfast will be held Sunday, March 10 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event will be held in Schad Hall. Free will donations will be used to purchase equipment for the department.