Acknowledging the Past and Celebrating Native American History and Culture
As part of our continued commitment to diversity and inclusion, one of the Campus Climate priority areas, SCU has implemented several initiatives honoring Native American history and culture. Our university sits on the land of the Ohlone and the Muwekma Ohlone people. It is important for all of us to understand the long-standing history that has brought us to reside, study, and work on this land, and to remember, honor and express our gratitude and respect for the Ohlone people, past and present.
- A Working Group on Honoring Ohlone History at SCU was created in Winter Quarter 2019, with Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Margaret Russell and DeSaisset Museum Director Rebecca Schapp as co-chairs, to provide assistance to the University in deciding on better ways to honor the Ohlone people, including pre-Mission ancestors buried here, those who resided and built the Mission, and their descendants. The President’s Office presented a charge to the committee and provided a budget to support its meetings. The members of the committee include representatives of the Ohlone community, faculty, staff, and a student. This committee has begun meetings and discussions.
- The first-ever SCU PowWow was held in April 2019, coordinated by the Native American Coalition for Change student group, with logistical support from ODI.
- The deSaisset Museum has embarked on a major renovation and redesign of its California History Permanent Collection exhibit, in consultation with an advisory group including four Ohlone members. According to museum director Rebecca Schapp,
“We were committed to revising the cultural content of the display to better reflect modern understandings of the Mission Era and the complex relationship between the Spanish, our Catholic Mission and the local Ohlone Indian tribe.” The new exhibit is scheduled to be completed by December 2019.
- The University has adopted the land acknowledgment as a way to recognize the indigenous people who called, and still call, this area home. This statement is read at University events of all sizes, including Convocation and Commencement. We encourage you to incorporate the land acknowledgment into your events and gatherings.