Dear campus community,
Today, we observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Recognized by U.S. President Joe Biden last Friday, this day honors Native peoples for their many contributions to American society while acknowledging the history of federal policies that “sought to assimilate and displace Native people and eradicate Native cultures.” This federal observance builds on the adoption of Indigenous Peoples’ Day by other states and jurisdictions, including California on October 14, 2019.
As a campus committed to inclusive excellence, Native peoples form an integral part of our community. They include undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff, alumni and communities served by UCI. The relationship between Native peoples and the campus is indeed grounded on the very land upon which UCI sits. Regional tribes, including the Gabrieleño and Juaneño, have long served as stewards of the land and guardians of the local Native cultures before and after colonization in the 18th century.
The federal recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day is particularly noteworthy to the campus. This fall UCI welcomed a record number of students and faculty who identify as Native American. Among faculty include members of the Indigenous Chamorro, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. They add to the diversity of existing faculty who include members of the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians, and Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.
As part of a year-long program entitled “To Form a More Perfect Union,” the UCI Humanities Center, together with campus sponsors, will host an evening of poetry with U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo. A member and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Joy Harjo will read her poem, A Map to the Next World. Assistant professor Alicia Carroll will facilitate the discussion.
This week, the UCI Latin American Studies Center will host “Indigenous Perspectives of Genocide: The Committee of Peasant Unity and the Survival of Indigenous People during the Guatemalan Armed Conflict, 1978-1992” by Heider Tun Tun, American Council of Learned Societies Emerging Voices Postdoctoral Fellow.
Douglas M. Haynes, Ph.D. (Pronouns: he/him/his)
Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Chief Diversity Officer
Director, ADVANCE Program
Professor of History