On Oct. 30, Quinnipiac’s Office of Multicultural Affairs hosted an event featuring a Quinnipiac tribesman, one in a series of events designed to broaden students’ perspectives on diversity.
And the students did say that they learned from the event. At least those who stayed until the end did.
Gordon Fox-Running Brainerd was the main speaker. Before Brainerd began, Tyrone Black, director of multicultural affairs, handed out a 29-page handout full of information about Puritans and the Quinnipiac tribe. Brainerd proceeded to read the entire thing, word-for-word, for the next hour and a half.
“I was expecting more of a demonstration,” senior Carla Brown said. “I thought that there would be a more personal feel.”
Brown did, however, think that the speech was informative. She said, “It was necessary, no one talks about Native Americans as they should.”
Black also said that events such as this help Quinnipiac students gain important knowledge about diversity. “It helps people understand what inclusion means,” Black said. “Diversity is nothing more than respecting, accepting and trying to understand.”
Many of the students in attendance seemed to disagree with Black about the importance of the event. About an hour into the speech, the first students began to trickle out. By the time the question and answer segment began, about half of the 50 people who were originally there had left.
Brainerd’s talk focused on treaties and land sales between the Puritans and local Native Americans. He said that over and over the Europeans took advantage of the Quinnipiacs and other Native Americans.
Brainerd said that recently a deed from 1731 had been discovered that detailed a transaction between the Quinnipiacs and a Puritan named John Morris. The deed, as well as other recent discoveries, seem to show that the Quinnipiacs were cheated out of a 50-acre reservation they purchased in Waterbury, Conn.? Some students thought that the presentation made an important subject seem a bit dry.
“I think a more engaging speaker would have made students more open to listen to what was being said,” Quinnipiac sophomore Courtney McClean said.