The following statement was written by Lee Bitsóí, associate vice president for Diversity Affairs and special advisor to the president for Indigenous Affairs.
July 20, 2021
Dear FLC Community,
As you will recall, last year our FLC History Committee recommended that we remove the federal Indian boarding school panels from our Clocktower since they are inaccurate and disrespectful. Accordingly, we will be removing them on Monday, September 6, 2021, so please save the date. We would really appreciate your attendance at this special event. You will find the tentative agenda for the day below and I'll be reaching out in the coming weeks as the program details are finalized.
Also taking shape in our reconciliation efforts is the opportunity to closely examine our racialized history in tandem with the Department of the Interior. With the help of Board of Trustees Janet Lopez and Ernest House Jr., President Stritikus held a meeting with ranking members from the Department of the Interior and Colorado Senator Michael Bennett’s office to discuss how FLC can participate in Secretary Deb Haaland’s Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative. Details are still materializing on how the federal government will investigate what happened at boarding schools across the country, and the Department and FLC administration are committed to communicating regularly as the initiative evolves.
As you may have seen, our commitment to this work was briefly mentioned in an article published in The New York Times this week about the survivors of boarding schools. It was not easy to read as the survivors shared accounts of violence and abuse, tactics meant to disrupt the identity of thousands of children and erase Indigenous cultures and languages. It took immense courage for these individuals to share their experiences with the world. Thus, our reconciliation work to counteract this genocide has never been more important.
Ceremonial Removal of the Panels, Monday, September 6
Agenda - Program will begin at 10 AM
Land Acknowledgement: Hozhoni Ambassador
Prayer: Native Elder
Remarks: Tribal Leaders
Removal of Panels: Mourning Song by student drum group
Upon Removal: Victory Song by student drum group
Cleansing Ceremony: Native Elder
Closing Remarks: Going forward and future plans
Note: Upon the conclusion of the program, we will provide a meal for all attendees.