Duke University must take action to support Native American students

Duke University must take action to support Native American students

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!

Duke Native American Student Alliance started this petition to Duke University

You can read our full article in the Duke Chronicle.

“I’m really looking at it though as an opportunity to heal above all. That is the goal here, not to shame them in any way, shape, or form but an opportunity to heal...and not by words but by actions.” 

- Myron Dewey (Paiute/Shoshone) 2019 Lehman Brady Professor at the Duke University Center for Documentary Studies

The Urgency of Now: Duke must take action to support Native American students

 The Duke Native American Student Alliance (NASA) is writing an open letter to Duke University. In this letter, we explain how Duke University has failed to adequately support Indigenous students. Then, we outline ways that Duke can better meet its goal of becoming an anti-racist institution. This would not only benefit Native American students at Duke but also Indigenous communities throughout North Carolina.  

     Duke University ranks as the 12th-best university in the United States but lags far behind many institutions in providing support for Indigenous students. Duke does not have a Native Studies Program, an Indigenous Cultural Center, adopted land acknowledgement or other academic and financial support programs for Native students. 

     We are further alarmed because North Carolina has the largest population of Indigenous people east of the Mississippi River and is home to eight recognized Tribal Nations. Additionally, Duke once housed the Cherokee Industrial School, a residential school which aimed to eradicate Cherokee culture. Considering these facts, we believe that Duke has an even greater obligation to support Indigenous students.

      Duke University has taken little initiative to support Indigenous students. Because the university has only one Indigenous faculty member, Duke committed to hiring Indigenous professors during the 2021 spring and fall semesters. However, this process was ultimately flawed. The Dean of Trinity College rejected a prominent Indigenous professor despite the history department and the Native Cluster Hire Committee unanimously supporting her hiring. Duke administration also did not involve Native students during the hiring process, even though NASA laid the groundwork for the Native Cluster Hire. 

     The Duke Native American Student Alliance is not attempting to shame Duke University. Rather, we are inviting Duke to work with Indigenous students to better meet the university’s goal of becoming an anti-racist institution. Duke University must work with Indigenous students to take action and set an example for institutions nationwide.

We, The Duke University Native American Student Alliance (NASA), ask that:

  • Deans, Directors of Undergraduate Studies and the Native American Cluster Hire Committees include Native Students in the hiring of senior Indigenous faculty who can support our organization's goals (listed below). 
  • President Vincent E. Price, Provost Sally Kornbluth and the Dean of Trinity College work to establish a Native Studies program with Native student, faculty, and staff involvement. 
  • Vice President/Vice Provost of Student Affairs Mary Pat McMahon, and Student Affairs leaders create a Native American Center with Native student, faculty and staff involvement. And that in the meantime, Duke Student Affairs hire a Native American Assistant Director in the Center for Multicultural Affairs with Native student input.
  • The Deans of Duke University and the Office for Institutional Equity adopt a land acknowledgment, currently being drafted by NASA students and a Land Acknowledgement Committee, and distribute it to faculty for class syllabi.

  • The Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education meet with NASA to discuss academic scholarships for Indigenous students as reparations for the Trinity College Cherokee Industrial School.

  • The President’s Office and the Office of the University Secretary meet with NASA to discuss including Native alumni on the Board of Trustees and the creation of a Native & Indigenous President’s Council.

  • The Office of Undergraduate Admissions take action to recruit and retain more Native American students with Native student, faculty and staff involvement. The OUA establish a college preparedness program on the Qualla Boundary in Cherokee, NC in collaboration with the EBCI Higher Education and Training department as reparations for the Trinity College Cherokee Industrial School. 
0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!