Native American & Indigenous Student Space @ UT Austin
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While Native American and Indigenous students focus much of our time at the University of Texas at Austin on ensuring academic success, the quality of our lives outside of academics greatly influences our student experience on campus. Although many spaces have been welcoming and inviting to the Native American and Indigenous student body, there is a need for a centralized space that caters specifically to this student body and community. Such space would provide Native American and Indigenous students a centralized organization, and the opportunity to construct our own representations as Native American and Indigenous students to the wider UT-Austin/broader Austin community.
With this in mind, we, as Native American and Indigenous students and allies at UT-Austin, demand that The University establish a Native American and Indigenous student center in central campus. Compared with other peer institutions who have Native American and Indigenous studies programs, UT-Austin is part of the few universities that do not have (or have plans to build) a space specifically for students. For example, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has established a Native American and Indigenous student-led space, Wunk Sheek, that serves students of Indigenous identity and members of the UW-Madison community interested in Indigenous issues, culture, and history. UT-Austin could follow their example by considering the establishment of such a space on campus. Its presence on central campus would emphasize the importance of the Native American and Indigenous student body and community to the University of Texas at Austin as well as increase visibility of diversity on campus.
Despite the intentional violence against our peoples, we are still here. Our ancestors prayed for us to heal and exist so that one day we may do the same for the next seven generations. We are actively engaging in these processes of healing from this intergenerational trauma and remembering our purpose and medicine along the way. We recognize that these processes of colonization extend beyond our own communities and are all connected. With this understanding we strive to heal with and build bridges of solidarity with all our relations.
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