Commitment to Native Students & Communities
With respect to our Native students, staff, and partners, The Center for Educational Opportunity Programs start our commitment by offering a sincere acknowledgment that the University of Kansas and our programs occupy the land of several tribal nations. Specifically, we acknowledge the painful history of genocide and forced removal while recognizing and supporting the sovereignty of all Indigenous people and communities.
CEOP recognizes the land as an expression of gratitude for the Indigenous people who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial. We honor and respect the many diverse Indigenous peoples still connected to this land.
Indigenous people are still here as our students, staff, and partners and continue to thrive as learners and despite ongoing colonialism and oppression.
“Our relationship with land cannot heal until we hear its stories." - Robin Wall Kimmerer (Citizen Potawatomi Nation) 2021 KU Common Book Author
This acknowledgment compels us to continue advocating for, supporting, and hiring Indigenous students and staff while also amplifying the voices of our Indigenous students and colleagues.
In addition to learning about oppression and privilege, the history of colonization, Indigenous Peoples and cultures of our colleagues and students, and about the land we occupy, CEOP staff are encouraged to incorporate action into programming.
What action can look like for CEOP Programs:
- Attend educational and cultural opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students
- Collaborate with First Nations student groups, organizations, support services in program schools and community
- Provide mentorship and networking opportunities for Indigenous participants to connect with other CEOP Indigenous students, alumni, and staff as well as the broader Indigenous community at KU
- Include education about tribal colleges and scholarships in college-access programming
- Collaborate with tribal colleges and universities for event programming
- Provide staff professional development opportunities to better support Indigenous students and communities
Context of the Land
CEOP is committed to telling the ongoing story of Native People who are indigenous to the land where we reside, who were forcibly removed from and forced to this area, and who currently reside here. We will continue working with the KU Office of Native American Initiatives and the KU Land Acknowledgement Committee to unpack, understand, and rightfully recognize the collective history of place.
The name Kansas is derived from that of the Kaw Nation (or Kanza or Kansa) and we begin sharing the context of the land by reflecting on the 2021 The Common Work of Art, Kansas Hosts. The five panels in this series name tribes who historically or currently inhabit the region that is now called Kansas. Artist Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds (Cheyenne, Arapaho) shares:
The Kaw selection represents a historic tribe and river from the Lawrence area. The tribe has since been forcibly removed to Oklahoma Indian Territory near Ponca City, Oklahoma. The other four nations listed are the only tribes that have reservation status and land holdings in Kansas. Ne Me Ha Ha Ki is the preferred name of the Sac and Fox Nation of Kansas. With my project it is often fitting to offer an original tribal spelling of the Indigenous nation.
Working with the KU Land Acknowledgment Committee, CEOP will continue the ongoing process of unpacking the context of the land and maintaining this ever-changing page.