In time for TCU’s Native American and Indigenous Peoples Day Oct. 4 on the TCU Campus, TCU has unveiled a landing page in conjunction with the Office of Diversity & Inclusion website, which seeks to inform people of the campus history and current initiatives, including the land acknowledgment statement adopted this year.
“This webpage is going to be a powerful tool,” Scott Langston, liaison for Native American Nations and Communities, said. “From attracting potential Native American faculty, staff, administrators and students, providing important information and resources to teachers and others, educating our campus so that positive growth can occur here and beyond, to building bridges of trust with Native American nations and communities, creating an environment where our campus can become more diverse, equitable and inclusive and more.
The TCU Campus is known to sit on ancestral homelands of the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes. Before TCU came into existence on the Texas prairie, it was an ancestral homeland for generations. In 2018, TCU and the Wichita dedicated a monument – located on the north side of Dave C. Reed Hall – acknowledging all Native American peoples who have lived in this region, particularly the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes.
To further the effort, TCU officially adopted this year a land acknowledgment statement that can be shared at major official TCU events and in other appropriate forums. A truncated version reads:
“TCU acknowledges the many benefits, responsibilities, and relationships of being in this place, which we share with all living beings. We respectfully acknowledge all Native American peoples who have lived on this land since time immemorial. TCU especially acknowledges and pays respect to the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, upon whose historical homeland our university is located.”
“History is always paramount to understanding and appreciating where we are today,” said Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr. “In the case of our Native American and Indigenous Peoples group, this is not only true in TCU’s constant efforts to raise up diversity and inclusion, but it literally impacted the ground on which we stand. We are humbled to acknowledge our past and proud to pursue progress for the future.”
The first public reading of the statement at a major TCU event took place at Convocation this month.
“TCU has never in its history made such an acknowledgment of Native American peoples at an official and prominent university ceremony. This marks a positive development in the life of the university.” – Scott Langston
A Day of Recognition
TCU’s Native American and Indigenous People’s Day Symposium is now in its fifth year. The annual event, scheduled for Oct. 4-5 in conjunction with the honored day, provides the TCU community opportunity to learn from and interact with Native American and Indigenous peoples, elevating awareness of and respect for their histories and perspectives.
The 2021 symposium theme is “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit People: From Awareness to Action” and features a variety of activities, including two presentations by Annita Lucchesi (Cheyenne), executive director of Sovereign Bodies Institute. See details on the symposium and other related events on the TCU calendar.
Taking the Lead
To help lead these efforts, Provost Teresa Abi-Nader Dahlberg appointed Dr. Langston, religion instructor and leader of Native American programs at TCU, to the newly created three-year position of liaison for Native American Nations and Communities. Langston then established an advisory circle comprising Native Americans from within and outside of the university. This group will help guide TCU on positive ways to make Native Americans feel seen, respected, supported and part of the campus community.
Learn about these efforts and others, including the Native and Indigenous Student Association and TCU’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Scholarship on the Native American and Indigenous Peoples Initiative webpage.