UNC Charlotte formally recognized Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, as Indigenous Peoples’ Day at the University.
Initiated by the Student Government Association (SGA), the recognition of Indigenous Peoples' Day reflects the recent tradition of the State of North Carolina, which first issued a proclamation in 2017 and has done so every year since on the second Monday of October.
Recognizing that American Indians inhabited not only what is now the North American continent, including North Carolina and, specifically, land in and around Charlotte, including that encompassing the University City area, SGA has felt a responsibility to find a way to honor those who suffered at the hands of Western settlers and explorers.
“This action expresses acknowledgement that while the past cannot be changed, we recognize the various ways students today benefit from the atrocities committed against Native Americans,” said Dick Beekman, SGA’s president pro tempore. “We encourage students to educate themselves and reflect on the various ways historical racial injustices are reflected in modern society. Collectively, we can all do our part to learn and grow from mistakes in our endeavors to grow as a nation.”
The formal recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day was directed by Cheryl Waites Spellman, Ed.D., interim special assistant to the chancellor for diversity and inclusion. To align with this recognition, Waites Spellman is organizing campus events for November, designated as National Native American Heritage Month, to honor the cultures and heritage of students and alumni who share tribal backgrounds.
“It’s imperative to observe and celebrate the unique contributions of all people who call UNC Charlotte home,” said Waites Spellman. “We’re proud to join the State of North Carolina and fellow institutions across the UNC System in recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”