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What is Indigeneity?

A broad, working definition of Indigeneity is that it is a quality of a person’s and a group’s identity that links them to specific places with knowledge of and respect for original ways.

Why Emory, Why Now?

This is a moment for Emory to embrace Indigeneity because:

  • Indigenous peoples manage half the world’s land and 80% of the world’s biodiversity, and are the most effective guardians of the world’s biodiverse forests;

  • According to the 2020 Census, the American Indian/Alaska Native population has grown 86.5% since 2010, thanks to more accurate measuring of complex identities;

  • In Fall 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the present territory of the Muscogee Creek Nation fit the legal definition of “Indian country,” opening an important doorway for the significance of tribal sovereignty.

For Whom?

One need not identify as Indigenous to work within a framework of Indigeneity.

In fact, respect for Indigenous sovereignty requires those who are not Indigenous to understand that Indigenous people have specific protocols and preferences for identifying as Indigenous and for sharing knowledge. Of course, Indigenous people whose identities are not original to the place where they reside are just as responsible for understanding those protocols as non-Indigenous people are.

Sierra Talavera-Brown (C23), president of the recently-formed Native American Student Association, describes our working values this way:

"I view NAISI as a cultural, intellectual, and social home: an outlet for Native and Indigenous voices. NAISI values impactful community building and is inclusive to the spectrum of what it means to be Native today. We embrace collaboration and encourage the sharing of individual, local, and global Indigenous knowledge and experience. NAISI intends to promote awareness of Native cultures and shed light upon issues that Indigenous communities across Indian Country and on campus face."

How Do I Get Involved?