October 8, 2020
Re: Indigenous Peoples' Day
To: All campus
Oct. 8, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
This Oct. 12, I invite you to take a moment to pause and celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day -- an important day in which we remember, honor and recognize the role of indigenous people in our nation’s history.
At UC Merced, we have a tradition of reflecting on the myriad threads that have woven together the fabric of our modern day lives. The preamble of our diversity statement demonstrates this:
Local indigenous people, including the Yokuts and Miwuk who understand the earth as a place for everyone, first inhabited the land where UC Merced is located. When we address diversity on this campus, we do so boldly, daring to look forward and backward, imagining diversity’s demand for the 21st century and the importance of diversity in addressing past wrongs, reaffirming humanity, and ensuring a reconciliatory path of redress for the future.
In celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, I’m proud to share with you two of the more substantial initiatives, among several, currently under way:
- Toloma Grove and Reflection Area: A grove of oak trees will encircle a reflection area and an Indigenous Peoples’ Monument, available to the campus community for daily use and special events. This project is slated to be completed in December 2020. The area will include plants used by local native peoples. “Toloma” means “bobcat” in Miwuk dialects.
- Adoption of the Native American Cultural Affiliation and Repatriation Policy: UC Merced is in the process of adopting and enacting a policy that would officially recognize the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act , and its accompanying regulations as fundamental values and upon official adoption, will ensure adherence and compliance with the general principles.
As the youngest, most diverse and, I would argue the most tenacious UC campus, we recognize that diversity and justice are essential components to the world class scholarship and research taking place on these sacred grounds. As we look ahead and continue to build the future in the heart of California, let’s take time to recognize those who came before us.
Juan Sánchez Muñoz, Ph.D.
Remarks and Addresses