Indigenous Peoples Day

9 October 2023

To the Carleton Community:

In recent years, Carleton has made important commitments to strengthen our connections with local tribal nations and increase awareness on campus of the history and continuing contributions of Native peoples.  As a college that stands on the homelands of the Wahpekute and Mdewakanton bands of the Dakota Nation, we have pledged to work towards greater understanding of the injustices committed against Dakota peoples. On this Indigenous Peoples Day, I write to share some of the work we have done as a community over the past year in this area, and to call your attention to a new Indigenous Engagement website that shares information about the many ways in which we can engage in this work as a college community.  

On the curricular side, we have worked to incorporate reciprocal civic engagement in courses related to Native studies, including through the development of five existing and two new courses:Ethics of Civic Engagement, taught by Michael McNally; and Oral History Research Methods: Theory, Ethics, and Practice, taught by Meredith McCoy (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe descent). A workshop held through the Perlman Center for Learning and Teaching on Native Studies in the Humanities and Beyond was facilitated by Broderick Dressen ’09 (Iñupiat Eskimo of Utqiagvik), education consultant and Carleton alumnus, and Paul Dressen, education director for Prairie Island Indian Community. We also conducted a search for a new tenure-track position in Native American and Indigenous Studies, and while that search didn’t result in a hire this year, it led to a current search for post-doctoral fellow in Native American and Indigenous Studies. 

Thanks to the dedication and interest of many faculty and staff across the college, Carleton has offered increased resources and programming related to Indigenous histories and contemporary issues. Among the most meaningful is the Elder-in-Residence Program, which has now completed two successful years and will continue in 2024 when we welcome Ramona Kitto-Stately (Santee Dakota) to campus. We also continue to work toward the establishment of a cultural house for Indigenous students as part of the Student Life and Housing Plan. 

I am grateful for the partnership of the Carleton Indigenous Peoples Alliance and the Prairie Island Indian Community in pursuing these campus initiatives. As we reflect on the experiences of Indigenous people in our region and look ahead to Native American Heritage Month in November, I encourage you to engage with opportunities on our campus, locally, and in the Twin Cities to learn about Indigenous issues and support Indigenous initiatives. In the spirit of our Community Plan for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity and the parallel themes of our strategic direction, I look forward to working together towards shared goals for Indigenous access and equity here at Carleton. 

President Alison Byerly

Posted In