Newly formed club SUPER, Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights, invited two speakers to talk about Palestinian and Native American perspectives about land being taken from them.
The event began with a Swinomish tribe member performing a prayer in the form of song with an accompanying drumbeat. After, he asked questions to the attendees such as, ‘what was your first impression of my opening?’ and, ‘If I asked you to pay me $50 for the air that you’re breathing, what would you say?’
Mckenna Paddock, vice president of SUPER, said there isn’t much talk on campus about Palestinian rights, or about Native American rights other than a few courses offered on campus.
“We really wanted to bring two perspectives that have a lot of parallels and equal realities, and bring it to campus and shed light on that,” Paddock said.
SUPER deals with sensitive issues that can be difficult for people to discuss, Paddock said.
Both speakers, Nada Elia and Michele Vendiola, described how land is being stolen from them, and had illustrated maps showing the movement of the native peoples.
Due to the recent conflict in Palestine, Paddock said now is the time to get involved.
“It’s very convoluted and it’s a hot topic,” Paddock said. “It’s picking up across the nation.”
Paddock encourages all to not be intimidated about the sensitive issues discussed, and to check out SUPER because they want to strengthen relations with Palestine, while keeping the club existent after the graduation of the founders, Paddock said.
Cam McMahon, 20, said the issue of Palestinian and Israel conflict affects our world today.
“For us as a university to get a good idea of its substantial information in our society, this is an important thing to spread around campus,” McMahon said.
Matthew Gerlach, former Western student, said he learned a lot about the struggles Palestinian and Native people are going through.
“It’s their land originally. Other people shouldn’t just come in and take it,” Gerlach said. “It’s not humane. It should be returned to them.”