Fort Lewis College has a distinct commitment to provide educational opportunities and pathways for Native American students, and to support each student’s determination and the choices they make for their education and career.
In 2019, a committee of students, faculty, and staff led important conversations with a core advisory group of tribal advisors, alumni, and community stakeholders, to discuss how FLC’s history as a military fort and boarding school is represented and in what contexts. Specifically, they were charged with researching and collaborating on next steps for the panels displayed underneath the clocktower. The panels inaccurately captured the history of the boarding school experience as it relates to Indigenous Peoples in our region. Additionally, the display of the panels in a central part of campus perpetuated harm on many members of the FLC community and undermined the fulfillment of FLC's mission.
During the 2019-20 school year, the committee engaged campus in an inclusive and robust reconciliation process. Their ultimate recommendation to President Stritikus was the removal of the history panels.
The Office of Diversity Affairs is leading our continued reconciliation work in partnership with faculty, staff, students, and Tribal Nations. Diversity Affairs is engaging campus community in listening sessions, discussion groups, creative works, and other collaborations to improve the well-being of Indigenous students, increase students' sense of belonging, and uphold our responsibilities to Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities.