While it’s hard to capture every story, we hope to periodically share in this space some of the major accomplishments or projects that are taking place. Members of the executive team will write about important topics that they feel NVC employees should be made aware of.
– Dr. Ric Baser, NVC President
Russell Frohardt, Ph.D.
NVC Dean for Academic Success
Throughout the history of Northwest Vista College, our faculty, staff, and students have worked to connect and collaborate with our community through scholarship, arts, programming, and community service. Within the last year, we also publicly committed to improve our college’s approach to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ), including efforts toward our commitment to becoming an anti-racist college.
One of the approaches that allies practice at some of the virtual conferences and events that I have had the fortune of attending recently is acknowledging the lands and history of where we are living and working. For example, the most recent Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) conference organizers invited all participants to begin sessions with a land acknowledgement and provided a template to start, as well as resources for developing that statement. I personally enjoy this practice and find that it is a way to pay respect to everyone who is participating in the moment. It also takes steps toward dismantling entrenched racial inequities. The narrative below is an example of a land acknowledgement that I shared at our November Bragging Breakfast:
I would like to take a moment for a land and history acknowledgement. We are meeting on the Indigenous lands of Turtle Island, the ancestral name for what now is called North America.
We would like to acknowledge the Alabama-Coushatta, Caddo, Carrizo, Comanche, Kickapoo, Lipan Apache, Tonkawa and Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo, and all the American Indian and Indigenous Peoples and communities who have been or have become a part of these lands and territories in Texas.
We would like to publicly recognize and acknowledge the Indigenous peoples that first resided in San Antonio and Bexar County, including the aboriginal people of this land, the Coahuiltecans (kwa-weel-tay-kans), along with Comanches and Apaches, and honor their histories and cultures as part of the history narrative that informs our college’s founding.
In addition, NVC acknowledges and celebrates an accurate historical accounting of the Latinx and Chicanx leaders who have advocated for dedicated resources and programs for the historically underrepresented Latinx and Chicanx students in San Antonio.
Since that November morning, I have done additional research and experienced many versions of these acknowledgements, including the beautiful native blessing at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Westside Education & Training Center (WETC). Recently, Dr. Janie Scott and I were invited to represent NVC at AAC&U’s Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) Institute where we drafted an action plan, with the guidance of our TRHT coach and colleagues, for putting the TRHT methods into practice for our college. That plan has three goals:
- Land Acknowledgement – Co-create a shared understanding and appreciation of the history of the lands where NVC resides.
- Broaden engagement of stakeholders and collaborators.
- Develop approaches for addressing difficult issues and needed policy changes through the lens of empathy and compassion.
Our Cabinet Leaders Council approved of the draft plan and is encouraging discussion with the NVC community to further develop the goals and actions of the approach. Please join this effort to co-create a land acknowledgement, by sharing your expertise and lived experiences. I look forward to working beside you to realize all of the goals of this action plan and the DEIJ endeavors across the college, district, and broader community.