Native American-Alaska Native Heritage

Students eating lunch in the Cherry St. Cafe with three murals of Chief Seattle, Princess Angeline, Billy Frank Jr., and Vi Hilbert

From the desk of Natasha Martin, JD, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion:

We begin November with an opportunity to pay tribute to the rich ancestry, diverse culture, and sacred traditions of Indigenous People during Native American and Alaska Native Heritage Month. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion invites your reflection on the vast contributions of Native people, as well as the numerous systemic challenges that continue to impede the vitality of Indigenous communities in our region and around the country. Read more.

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Seattle University Land Acknowledgment 

In 2017, Seattle University’s Indigenous Peoples Institute, under the guidance of Dr. Roberts and Fr. Patrick Twohy, S.J., collaborated with Campus Ministry to co-create language that can be used to recognize the history and people, lands, and waters of this Duwamish dxʷdəwʔabš aboriginal territory. This statement is often used in our community to open campus events, meetings, classes, and other gatherings.  

As we begin [name of event/gathering], I (we) invite us all to respectfully acknowledge that our campus is on occupied Coast Salish land, specifically the homelands of the Duwamish people.   

To acknowledge this land is to recognize the history and legacy of settler colonialism; it is to recognize these lands, waters, and their significance for the peoples who have thrived in this region despite the consequences of displacement and broken treaties.  

Let us take a moment to pause and pay our respects to Coast Salish Elders past and present and extend that respect to their descendants and to all Indigenous people. 

 Want to take your understanding and use of land acknowledgements further?

Swinomish mother and adult daughter walking on the Reservation in La Conner

Citing Indigenous Sources

APA style guide teaches us how to cite traditional sources such as books, journal articles, and youtube videos. When we use indigenous knowledge from direct sources, like an elder or other knowledge keeper, we need to be more intentional with the way we cite their words. Many institutions of higher learning are developing a protocol to explain the relationship between the knowledge shared and the person who shared them.  

University of British Columbia suggests: 

Did you speak to an Indigenous person directly to learn information? 

If they are not a research participant, then you can cite them as you would personal communication. Include in an in-text citation the person's full name and the specific Indigenous group they belong, location, and additional details that are relevant to them, ending with the words "personal communication" and the date of the communication.  


Parenthetical in-text citation: (A.A. Smith, Indigenous group, location, additional details, personal communication, March 31. 2020)  

Narrative in-text citation: A.A. Smith (Indigenous group, location, additional details, personal communication, March 31, 2020) 

Did your information gathering occur over a number of dates? 

If this is the case you should include a general date or range of dates that reflect when you consulted with the person.  

Are you including information from your own experience and/or community? 

If you are an Indigenous person and are including information from your own experience or information that has previously not been recorded of your people "describe yourself in the text (e.g., what nation you belong to, where you live) to contextualize the origin of the information you are sharing." (APA, 2020, p.261). You do not need to include a personal communication citation or have a reference list entry. 

Other sources and protocols: 

The Lemieux Library provides a wealth of resources on:  

Eduardo Peñalver at the Presidential Inauguration



Fr. Pat Twohy & Dr. Christina Roberts, Director of IPI hugging on stage

Faculty Features 

Nicole Hardie speaking at IPI Gala