Honoring Native Students this Native American Heritage Month

 

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Judy Fisher

Research shows that American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) students have the  highest postsecondary dropout rates & lowest postsecondary graduation rates.   Research estimates that anywhere from 75-93% of AI/AN students drop out of college before completing their degree.

To the non-traditional students. Students far from home. Students from the rez. Students from smalls towns & urban areas. Students with financial aid & 3 jobs. To students who don’t need financial aid. Students who had to return home. Students who want to return home but can’t just yet. To students with more responsibility than some of our peers will ever understand. To students struggling with mental illnesses, addiction, trauma. Students who have lost the energy. Students who are angry. Students who are tired. To students doing this for their ancestors, for their grandmothers, their parents, their nieces & nephews. To the students proving how hard it is to kill the Indian:

You feel like you do not belong here not because you are not worthy.

You feel like you do not belong here because you do not belong here.

Is this not a remnant of boarding schools where our grand were forced to speak English?

Is this not assimilation?

We will NEVER belong here as long as administrators & officials refuse to critically address the presence of Indigenous people on their campuses.

Colleges & universities that proclaim to uphold values of diversity and inclusion will always fall short when they refuse to address their stake in settler colonialism & the continued dehumanization of Indigenous people on the land that their campuses stand on.

To Native students:

You do not belong here because they never wanted you to be here.

Yet here you are. Disrupt.

 

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