By Dr. Julie Anne Sweet | Professor of History
To The Editor:
Yet again, I am writing to bring attention to the fact that Baylor has failed to significantly recognize Native American Heritage Month in November, aside from a few token gestures. Most notably, the brief mention toward the end of the Presidential Perspective on Nov. 4 seemed like an off-handed comment to touch base on this issue without providing any context to Baylor’s history and current situation with regard to Native issues. The “hope to share more in the future” seems like a convenient way to dodge this important topic.
While there have been a small number of poorly advertised opportunities to learn more about Native peoples and culture, there is so much more that the university could and should be doing to educate its citizenry. Native American Heritage Month presents an excellent opportunity to provide events, displays, webpages and banners, social media items and more that would make everyone aware of the many valuable contributions made by Native Americans to this university and their vibrant culture that still exists today. Baylor’s mission and core convictions emphasize educational excellence as well as diversity and inclusion, and here is the perfect occasion to demonstrate those values as they apply to Native American traditions and people.
It is only the second week of November, and perhaps there is something more to come after others have been celebrated for their contributions and sacrifices. I am not advocating for Native American Heritage Month to overshadow or displace those activities, but I think that it’s about time that Baylor step up on a university level to address all Native issues — past and present. And so, I say yet again, maybe next year?