Indian Country Today Media Network received this statement from the nation’s first and largest Native American sorority regarding the recent “Pilgrims and Indians” party thrown by a Duke University fraternity.
Statement from Alpha Pi Omega Sorority, Inc., in response to Pi Kappa Phi fraternity’s party
We were excited to find out recently Alpha Pi Omega Sorority, Inc. received approval for a proposed expansion process for the spring 2012 semester from Duke University’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. However, our excitement was dampened by the decision of Duke University’s chapter of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity to host a “Pilgrims and Indians”-themed Thanksgiving party in which attendees were encouraged to “put on a few feathers” at the brothers’ teepee while channeling their inner “Pocahotness.”
The fraternity’s actions blatantly contribute to the stereotyping and marginalization of Native Americans. Although the Native community at Duke is small, there is no excuse for the racism and complete disregard for our traditions displayed by this party and its advertising.
As November is Native American Heritage Month, there are many events that occur on college campuses throughout the country that teach about our rich heritage, culture and history. As the country’s oldest and largest Native American Greek-letter organization, Alpha Pi Omega Sorority, Inc., supports Duke’s Native American Student Alliance and the university’s Native American community in their efforts to combat events that perpetuate negative stereotypes about our culture.
As we look forward to the opportunity to expand our organization on the Duke University campus, we hope that the actions of one fraternity are not a reflection of the school’s Greek culture as a whole. It is our hope that the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life will ensure that this incident is used as an educational opportunity to teach why events such as this continue to propagate oppression but also about how to create a socially just environment at Duke University. We expect Duke University to take swift action to ensure that events such as Pi Kappa Phi’s ‘Pilgrims and Indians’ party do not occur in the future.
Tonia Jacobs, Grand President, Alpha Pi Omega Sorority
Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton, Grand Public Relations Director, Alpha Pi Omega Sorority