Statement of Support for KU Recognition of Indigenous Peoples Day

Together we call upon the University of Kansas to recognize October 10, 2016, as Indigenous Peoples Day. With its origins in the 1977 International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas, Indigenous Peoples Day recognizes the valuable contributions made by Indigenous peoples. Such recognition is especially appropriate at KU, where the University highly regards its relationship with Indigenous students, staff, faculty, and Haskell Indian Nations University.

Recognition of October 10, 2016, as Indigenous Peoples Day is also consistent with recommendations made by other groups on campus.  In the April 27, 2016 Report of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Group submitted to Chancellor Gray-Little and then acting Provost Sara Rosen, it was recommended that the University “[r]ecognize Indigenous Peoples Day in honor of Native American contributions to the community.” See Further, on October 3, 2016, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group issued a statement on recent protests and institutional change. In relevant part, the statement states:

Further, in accordance with the commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and as specified in the DEI report from last year, we require the University recognize this coming Monday (10/10) as Indigenous People’s Day. This requirement is only a start to move forward on the recommendations laid out last year, including strengthening the relationship with Haskell Indian Nations University and enhancing KU’s commitment to Indigenous Studies and our Indigenous and First Nations communities at the University.


The City of Lawrence declared October 12, 2015, Indigenous Peoples Day. See The City’s declaration is consistent with those of numerous other cities and states, which have all decided to recognize the crucial contributions of Indigenous peoples. See

Accordingly, we call on the University to honor its commitment to Indigenous peoples by recognizing October 10, 2016, as Indigenous Peoples Day.

First Nations Student Association
Indigenous Studies Program
Native American Law Students Association
Native Faculty and Staff Council
Tribal Law and Government Center
Center for American Indian Community Health, University of Kansas Medical Center
Center for the Study of Injustice
Asian and Asian American Faculty and Staff Council (AAAFSC)
Asian Law Students Association
Achievement and Assessment (AAI)
Agile Technology Solutions (ATS)
Black Faculty and Staff Council
Black Law Students Association
Brazilian Student Association
Center for Educational Opportunity Programs (CEOP)
Center for Educational Testing & Evaluation (CETE)
Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Center for Public Partnerships & Research (CPPR)
Department of African and African-American Studies
Department of American Studies
Department of English
Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity
Graduate Students of Color
Hispanic American Law Student Association
History Department
Humanities Program
Institute for Policy and Social Research
Kansas African Studies Center
KU Habitat for Humanity
KU Law OutLaws & Allies
Latino/a Studies Council
Museum Studies Program
Office for Diversity in Science Training
Political Science Department
Religious Studies
School of Education
School of Law
School of Law Faculty and Staff Diversity and Inclusion Committee
School of Public Affairs and Administration
School of Social Welfare
Sexuality and Gender Diversity Faculty and Staff Council
South Asian Student Association (KU SASA)
Student Senate
University Senate

Fran Bartlett (KU Graduate), Lawrence High School Teacher
Andrew Bricker (KU Graduate), Lawrence High School Teacher
Tyler L. Childress, KU Law Student, KU DEI Group Member, OutLaws & Allies Vice President    
Ben Dandrea, KU Student
Ann Foster, Lawrence High School Teacher    
Dr. Paul Kelton, Associate Dean for the Humanities and Professor, KU Department of History
Leah LaPointe, KU Payables-Procurement Services
Dr. Ward Lyles, Assistant Professor, KU Urban Planning
Everett Metcalf (KU Undergraduate in the SOE), KU Student
Tracy Murray (KU Graduate), Lawrence High School Teacher
An Sasala, KU PhD Student, Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies
Valerie Schrag (KU Graduate), Lawrence High School Teacher
Thomas Sherwood, KU Facilities Services
Dr. Stacy Swearingen White, Chair and Professor, KU Urban Planning
Braden Werner, KU Student

Provost's Response to 10/3/16 DEI Advisory Group Statement

Statement of Support for Students of Color

The Indigenous Studies Program (ISP) at the University of Kansas acknowledges and stands in solidarity with the student coalition Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk, the Black Student Association, and the many other students who shared their experiences and frustrations at the November 11, 2015 Town Hall forum. Their testimony documents that for many students, KU is not a safe or supportive academic environment. The ISP supports their call for immediate and effective action to address and correct the ongoing occurrences of violence and hate crimes based on race, sexual orientation, and gender.

With affiliate faculty across the College, in the Law School, and at KU Med, the ISP continues to work with other academic programs, centers, and offices across campus in the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, staff, and students. We continue to partner with our colleagues at KU and at Haskell Indian Nations University to provide a welcoming, inclusive, and superior educational environment for Native American and other students in our program. We also note that at KU, the graduation rate for Native American undergraduates is less than fifty percent. This is one of the lowest graduation rates of any single group at the university. In addition, the number of incoming freshman identifying as Native American has dropped significantly in the last five years. KU can do better.

As scholars, artists, and scientists committed to the resurgence, well-being, and self-determination of Native American and Indigenous peoples and nations, we are steadfast in our resolve to work toward making KU a welcoming, supportive, and inclusive learning environment for all students.

– The ISP Director, Executive Committee, and Staff

About Indigenous Studies at KU

Welcome to the Indigenous Studies program at the University of Kansas. We accept applications to the M.A. program and graduate certificate on a rolling basis. Visit the Admission page for more information. We also offer an undergraduate minor in Indigenous Studies.

The Indigenous Studies master’s degree program provides students with in-depth knowledge of Indigenous peoples’ complex and diverse cultures and histories, as well as their impacts on the global society. Our multidisciplinary program offers students the advantage of studying relevant issues from a wide range of academic perspectives. The expertise of our affiliate faculty members includes Native American history, including medical and legal aspects; Indigenous literature; ethnobotany; Indigenous peoples' cultural survival and political activism; American Indian tribal governments; Indigenous geographies and cartographic history; Native American religions; and much more.

Our master’s program allows students to develop an area of specialization in which to build their expertise. Students can choose either a thesis or portfolio option to complete their degrees. We also offer a joint degree with the Law School.  Students may graduate with both the J.D. and an M.A. in Indigenous Studies in three to four years, making it an ideal choice for students interested in tribal law.  With rolling admissions, our program offers the flexibility to apply at your convenience and to begin your studies either in the fall or the spring semester.

Empowered by the resources on campus and in our community, we strive to provide unique learning opportunities for our students that go beyond the classroom. Please explore our website to learn more about what we have to offer, and feel free to contact us with questions.

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