Dear OSU Community Members,
Today, throughout Oregon State University and across the country, we celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Occurring each year on the second Monday in October, this day provides an important opportunity to celebrate the resilience and ongoing contributions of Native and Indigenous communities, while reflecting on the legacy and continuing impacts of colonialism.
Because of efforts led by OSU students in 2015, Corvallis was among the first cities in Oregon to formally acknowledge Indigenous Peoples’ Day. This year, all OSU community members are invited to attend an Indigenous Peoples’ Day commemoration today at 5:30 p.m. at the LaSells Stewart Center on the Corvallis campus. A live-stream of the event will be available at: https://beav.es/53C.
This year’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day also marks an important step forward for OSU’s commitment to Native and Indigenous communities. I am pleased and honored to announce today the formation of the Oregon State University President’s Commission on Indigenous Affairs.
This commission will work directly with the president, provost, vice president and chief diversity officer, university leaders and community members to:
- Advance positive institutional change to support Indigenous students, faculty and staff.
- Promote excellence in Indigenous research and scholarship.
- Cultivate a university culture that honors and values Indigenous perspectives and knowledge.
As a land-grant institution created by the 1862 Morrill Land Grant Act, Oregon State University has a special obligation to serve and be of enduring benefit to Tribal nations and Indigenous communities in Oregon and throughout the country. In 2018, OSU adopted a land acknowledgement making clear its commitment to Indigenous communities within and beyond the university.
To advance this commitment, OSU has sought to make the university more accessible to Native and Indigenous learners by:
- Providing in-state tuition to any enrolled member of a federally recognized Tribe across the nation, which complements a state of Oregon program that provides support for the full cost of college attendance to enrolled members of the nine federally recognized Tribes of Oregon.
- Increasing opportunities for Native and Indigenous student success through the New Beginnings for Tribal Students program, the opening of the Dr. Larry Griggs Center for Black and Indigenous Student Success, and creating an Indigenous Mental Health and Wellness position in Counseling and Psychological Services;
- Cultivating spaces for community building through the Kaku Ixt Mana Ina Haws and the munk skukum Living-Learning Community;
- Elevating Indigenous scholarship and research opportunities through a new Indigenous Studies minor in the School of Language, Culture and Society; hiring the first associate dean and director for Tribal initiatives in the College of Forestry and offering courses that incorporate and amplify traditional ecological knowledge.
The President’s Commission on Indigenous Affairs will provide additional opportunities to make positive change within the university and build strong, enduring relationships with Native and Indigenous communities at OSU and throughout the state and country.
The President’s Commission on Indigenous Affairs joins two other presidential commissions – the President’s Commission on the Status of Women and the President’s Commission on the Status of Black Faculty and Staff Affairs – that contribute to advancing the university’s inclusive excellence mission in unique and important ways.
I am honored to acknowledge Indigenous Peoples’ Day and look forward to collaborating with members of the new President’s Commission on Indigenous Affairs.
Jayathi Y. Murthy