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Indigenous Peoples’ Day


On this, the second Monday in October, we recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day. In doing so, we name the legacies—both the violent erasures of individuals and entire nations and the cultural significance and ongoing resiliency of the approximately 60,000 American Indian and Alaskan Native peoples who live, learn and work in Utah. As a public university and the flagship institution of higher education in the state, the University of Utah, in its mission to provide access to high-quality education for all, has a responsibility to serve and partner with Native Nations.

Today we take an important step toward increasing the visibility and understanding of our commitment to building and maintaining enduring relationships with Utah’s sovereign tribal nations and American Indian communities with the launch our Indigenous Land Acknowledgement. We hope various colleges and departments across campus will post and recite this statement as appropriate as we work together with our Native American students, staff, faculty and community members.

I personally wish to thank the following committee members for their hard work and thoughtful deliberation in crafting the U’s Indigenous Land Acknowledgement:

Elizabeth Kronk Warner, co-chair, dean of the S.J. Quinney College of Law (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians)

Adam Dell, assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics
Alberta Comer
, dean of libraries
Alice Whitacre, associate general counsel, Office of General Counsel
Ashley Cordes, assistant professor of Indigenous communication (Coquille)
Becky Menlove, former director for the visitor experience, Natural History Museum of Utah
Charles Sepulveda, assistant professor, Ethnic Studies (Tongva and Acjachemen)
Chris Nelson, communications director, University Marketing & Communications
Dena Ned, associate professor, College of Social Work (Chickasaw Nation)
Greg Smoak, director, America West Center and associate professor of history
Morgan Aguilar, communications specialist, University Marketing & Communications
Sarah Projansky, associate vice president for faculty, Academic Affairs
Shayma Salih, student, Hinckley Institute of Politics

As we move forward, putting our words into action, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion will be supporting the great work and programming going on across campus with its Native American Heritage Month calendar. We hope many of you will join us in learning more about the historical and modern lived experiences of Indigenous Peoples’ so we may work to challenge stereotypes and dismantle harmful narratives.

If you are a campus partner and would like to add an event to this calendar, please use this form.

I look forward to continuing in this important work together on this Indigenous Peoples’ Day and each day after.

Mary Ann Villarreal
Vice President for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion