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November is Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and American Indian Heritage Month!

Good Morning, Everyone!

As you probably know, November is the month to recognize the heritages of Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and American Indians! 

While it is important to appreciate and celebrate the cultures, traditions, languages, art, and histories of Indigenous Peoples all year long, this month presents a special opportunity to honor their long-standing stewardship of these lands and their innumerable contributions to the world. We all grow by receiving the wisdom of Indigenous Peoples, wisdom that has been passed down from generation to generation for time immemorial. We are fortunate here at UAS to have a chance to experience the revitalization of Alaska Native languages, art, and traditions first-hand!

It is also important to reflect upon the painful history experienced by generations of the First Peoples of this land and work towards healing. At UAS, our promise to work towards healing is encapsulated in our Land Acknowledgment:

Our campuses reside on the unceded territories of the Áakʼw Ḵwáan, Taantʼá Ḵwáan, and Sheet’ká Ḵwáan on Lingít Aaní, also known as Juneau, Ketchikan, and Sitka, Alaska. We acknowledge that Lingít Peoples have been stewards of the land on which we work and reside since time immemorial, and we are grateful for that stewardship and incredible care. We also recognize that our campuses are adjacent to the ancestral home of the X̱aadas and Ts’msyen and we commit to serving their peoples with equity and care. We recognize the series of unjust actions that attempted to remove them from their land, which includes forced relocations and the burning of villages. We honor the relationships that exist between Lingít, X̱aadas, and Ts’msyen peoples, and their sovereign relationships to their lands, their languages, their ancestors, and future generations. We aspire to work toward healing and liberation, recognizing our paths are intertwined in the complex histories of colonization in Alaska. We acknowledge that we arrived here by listening to the peoples/elders/lessons from the past and these stories carry us as we weave a healthier world for future generations. 

As the days of November pass, I hope that you will find time to contemplate the depth and complexity of Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and American Indian heritages, continue to build bridges towards healing, and celebrate the knowledge and traditions that Native Peoples bring! We are particularly fortunate to have Alaska Native cultures, values, and ways of life interwoven into the spirit and identity of UAS!

Dr. Aparna Palmer