Office of the President

October 11, 2021

Recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day – and the communities and people it honors

Rickey Hall, Vice President / University Diversity Officer, Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

I invite everyone in our UW community to join me in recognizing National Indigenous Peoples’ Day – a day to reflect on the experiences of American Indians and Alaska Natives, and to recognize the contributions Indigenous people have, and continue to make at the UW.

It is important to begin by acknowledging that the University of Washington sits on land that was and still is home to Indigenous peoples – all with deep and rich customs and traditions. After many years of consultation with Tribal leaders and American Indian community members, the university developed a land acknowledgment that we share before many of our meetings and gatherings. It is an acknowledgment that we are uninvited guests on the original land of the Coast Salish peoples. By making this statement, it is also an acknowledgement of the sovereignty of Tribal Nations.

Today we are fortunate to have offices and spaces on campus like wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House, a longhouse-style facility which provides a multi-service learning and gathering space for American Indian and Alaska Native students, faculty and staff. Additionally, we have an American Indian Studies program in the College of Arts and Sciences, other academic centers and programs and a number of student organization on campus including First Nations @ UW, an undergraduate intertribal registered student organization. The UW also has a Tribal Liaison that consults with President Ana Mari Cauce on issues that affect AIAN students, faculty, and staff across the university system, as well as on how university decisions affect the Tribal communities in the region.

None of these incredible spaces and programs came easy. They came about because of advocacy from students, faculty, staff, and community members insisting on access and inclusion and pushing for change.

As we take time today to reflect, I encourage you to also take some time to learn more about the history of the land and people. There are a number of ways both on and off campus to recognize National Indigenous Peoples’ Day, some of which are included below:

I want to thank all of the Indigenous staff and faculty across the University for all that you do for our students and your colleagues. Your heritage, your work, and your contributions to the UW make a difference.