05 May 2018 | First Nations Not Wanted


The story of two First Nations men who were pulled away from a campus tour group at Colorado State University is getting under my skin to the point of distraction.

These two men borrowed their family’s van to make a drive of several hours from New Mexico to Fort Collins, Colorado, to take part of the campus tour. They got lost in the city but found their way to the school and joined the tour 30 minutes late. A white woman got nervous at their quiet disposition and sicced the cops on them, who duly arrived to question them why they were there and pulled them apart from the group. Once they were let go, they couldn’t find the group and left for home.

I don’t even know if either or both of them had been accepted at Colorado State. But I can only imagine how excited they were in the first place, so much so that they made an hours-long drive from a neighboring state. And for what? To get the cops called on them because they were “too quiet” when with the group. Too quiet. You know, people of color can’t do anything at all without having the cops called on them. Talking too much? Call 911. Talking too loud? Call 911. Just waiting for a friend to arrive at a Starbucks? Call 911. Now you can get in trouble for being too quiet, since that clearly means you’re planning a robbery.

The university is making a great deal of noise about how sorry that this happened, how they’re reviewing their policies and working with the campus cops about handling future situations like this, blah, blah, blah. It’s the same BS that universities *always* say when they get trapped into a PR nightmare, and you can pretty much dismiss all of it. Why? Because the problem is they have no contingency to deal with asshole parents. Note I didn’t say racist parents. What Colorado State is going to need to do is figure out a way to let the parents of prospective students know they might see black people on a campus tour. They might see Native Americans. They might see other people of color. Resist the urge to call the cops because they have a reason to be here. But of course, that won’t happen at all.

I hate imagining the excited ancitipation these two young men had when they made their journey. I hate imagining how they must have felt because of some wretched sow who took their silence as a crime in progress and called the cops. It’s hard enough to get First Nations youth to know they have a rightful place in higher education; now they have to contend with this. Part of me hopes the family decides to ignore the entreaties of Colorado State in its desperate damage control bid and either say nothing at all or just inform them that they have no interest in attending. I hope another university steps in and invites the two men for a campus tour.

Just be sure to warn the white people first that they’re coming.