by Noah Collins
On October 10th, the Anthropology Department hosted a wonderful and thought-provoking discussion about “Indigenizing Academia.” Keynote speaker Dr. Corey Still (United Keetoowah Band), Vice President of Academic Affairs at Bacone College, was joined by Elizabeth Ellis (Peoria Tribe of Oklahoma), new Assistant Professor in the History department, and graduate student Noah Collins (Cherokee Nation/White Mountain Apache Tribe).
This event for Indigenous People’s Day was the beginning of a much longer discussion around Indigenous/Native Research Methods and the experiences of Native people in academia. Going forward, there is a want to make Princeton a hospitable place for Native students, scholars, and community members. There is a long history of Native exclusion and rejection by universities and there is a pervasive belief that Indigenous people don’t exist or that we only exist in the past. Having events where you not only interact with current scholars, but see how Indigenous thought is being used in innovative ways plays a large part in eliminating erasure narratives.
It will take the support of many different organizations, departments, and individuals to take what exists at Princeton currently as a Native community and build it into a system that supports and uplifts. We want to grow the Native student, staff, and faculty population at Princeton and institutions like it and form them into places that don’t just extract from our communities but where we can go to learn and grow safely. Indigenous People’s Day on its own is symbolic of this resistance through the shift from narratives that support colonizers into one that acknowledges our value.
See the recording here