ECU to celebrate new space to recognize Indigenous communities

School Watch

(Caroline Bowyer, WNCT photo)

GREENVILLE, NC – East Carolina University, on Tuesday at 1 p.m., will dedicate a new space outside the Main Campus Student Center to honor and recognize the Indigenous communities who have been traditional stewards of the land in Eastern North Carolina.

This land acknowledgment will demonstrate ECU’s commitment to diversity, scholarship and service. Not only will the acknowledgment show the impact of Indigenous peoples, but it will serve to educate non-Indigenous students, faculty, staff and visitors to ECU’s campus. These efforts will encourage unity, education and collaboration throughout Pirate Nation. In particular, the location of the land acknowledgment will enhance the recruitment of prospective faculty, staff and students.

“The objective of the land acknowledgment is to bring to light the countless sacrifices and impact Indigenous people have made in eastern North Carolina,” said Dr. Mariza James, LWCC interim director.

The dedicated space and land acknowledgment will honor the eight state-recognized tribes that include the Coharie, Eastern Band of Cherokee, Haliwa-Saponi, Lumbee, Meherrin, Occaneechi Band of Saponi, Sappony and Waccamaw-Siouan tribes.

“Since these tribes have inhabited these lands, we want to celebrate the Indigenous students, faculty and staff that have been a part of the success of ECU,” said Aleshia Hunt, Student Government Association financial advisor and member of Lumbee Nation.

The official land acknowledgment act reads: “We acknowledge the Tuscarora people, who are the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and live, and recognize their continuing connection to the land, water, and air that Greenville consumes. We pay respect to the eight state-recognized tribes of North Carolina; Coharie, Eastern Band of Cherokee, Haliwa-Saponi, Lumbee, Meherrin, Occaneechi Band of Saponi, Sappony, and Waccamaw-Siouan, all Nations, and their elders past, present, and emerging.”The land acknowledgment act was ratified by the ECU SGA last year.

The Indigenous space dedication is being sponsored by the Ledonia Wright Cultural Center and aligns with its mission to provide experiences for ECU students to become confident, globally aware citizens. Through creating the space, it reaffirms the center’s commitment to creating a more culturally aware and responsible campus community.

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