Dear President Stephen D. Nadauld, Dixie State University:
In parts of Australia, university lectures begin by formally acknowledging and offering thanks to the traditional landowners, the Australian Aborigines. This serves as a continuous reminder that the land the Australian universities are on originally belonged to the aboriginal people of Australia.
I was hoping a similar tradition can be started by universities in the US. Given that your university is on sacred Paiute land, I was therefore wondering if Dixie State University would like to take a lead in such an initiative. My proposal is that the Opening Assembly at the start of the fall semester at Dixie State could begin by formally acknowledging and offering thanks to the Shivwits Band of Paiutes in your town of Saint George, who historically owned all the land the university is built on, before it was stolen from them. This would serve as a reminder of sorts that the land originally belonged to the Indians who live amongst us but are invisible to the rest of the country. Please let me know if you like this idea.
Dixie State University and the town you are in is home to the Shivwits Band of Paiutes and many Paiute, Navajo, Shoshone, Ute and other Indians are students at your university. Over the next several months, my friends and I will be sending this email to universities across the US, in an attempt to persuade them to adopt this tradition. But President Nadauld, you are the very first one to receive it. This is an opportunity for Dixie State University to take the lead and lead other universities in this tradition of formally acknowledging and offering thanks to the traditional landowners during the Opening Assembly. This is a simple, costless gesture but it will go far in making Native students feel at home at your university and will also help attract more Indian students from the many local tribes to your university.
I have copied this email to the chairs of some of the Paiute Bands as well as to some other prominent Natives. I have also copied this email to my friends in the hope they will urge their own universities to adopt this tradition.
President Nadauld, I look forward to hearing from you.
Harvard University ALB program