To the university community,

As we observe Indigenous Peoples Day, let’s take a moment to reflect on the history of the Blacksburg area that extends far beyond the university’s founding in 1872 — and on the future that we will build together.

The Tutelo/Monacan people are the historical stewards of the land on which we work and live in the Blacksburg area, and they have enduring ties to the natural resources that support our endeavors. Moreover, recognizing the legacy of all Indigenous people is a reflection of InclusiveVT — our institutional and individual commitment to Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) in the spirit of community, diversity, and excellence.

Today, the university proudly observes Indigenous Peoples Day. Our recognition of the day gathered momentum in 2018, when the Native at Virginia Tech organization made a proposal to the Virginia Tech Commission on Equal Opportunity and Diversity. We first marked the day in October 2018 via a Presidential Policy Memorandum, which allowed time for the annual observance proposal to be considered by the appropriate governance bodies. And in 2019, history was made at Virginia Tech as the University Council approved a resolution to observe Indigenous Peoples Day.

Indigenous Peoples Day at Virginia Tech recognizes and honors the traditional peoples, past and present, of both the Blacksburg area and across the nation. As a land-grant university, we owe our institution’s existence, in part, to lands west of the Mississippi River that were confiscated from Indigenous peoples and sold to fund the founding of our nation’s land-grant institutions, including Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1872. And today’s Indigenous students at Virginia Tech also come from every corner of the commonwealth and more distant geographic areas.

The commemoration creates a moment for America to rethink its history. In the context of the ongoing national conversation about racial justice, we have an opportunity to strengthen our continuing commitment to develop an inclusive environment at Virginia Tech. This awareness is an essential part of our vision for the future of Virginia Tech.

We encourage each of you to participate in Monday’s observance and learn more about the history and heritage of the land that continues to support our university’s mission and vision.

Tim Sands,

Menah Pratt-Clarke,
Vice President for Strategic Affairs and Diversity

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