UNT declares Oct. 15 as Indigenous Peoples' Day - A Message from the President

Oct. 8, 2019

Dear UNT family,

The members of our UNT community come from diverse backgrounds and our minority-majority student body is made up of countless viewpoints and cultures. When shared with one another, it is our individual experiences that help make us a stronger university.

Since the founding of our university, UNT has had a relationship with Native American peoples. Our second class in the fall of 1890 was made up of 131 students, including 28 Muscogee Creek students from the Indian Territory we now know as Oklahoma. Those students' presence was critical in achieving sufficient enrollment to continue offering classes. This fall, Native American students make up 1.3 percent of our student body and the UNT Native American Student Association includes students from more than 17 tribal nations.

To strengthen our commitment as a university that supports students from all backgrounds, including our native students, UNT is designating Tuesday, Oct. 15, as Indigenous Peoples' Day. This annual UNT holiday will celebrate and honor the shared history and culture of Native Americans and indigenous peoples. I invite you to join UNT's Native American Student Association for an Indigenous Peoples' Day celebration featuring food, vendors and the intertribal Southeastern sport of stickball at 11 a.m. Oct. 15 on the Sage Lawn. We believe this first step to begin strengthening UNT's relationship with native students, faculty and communities will better foster our mission as a university.

Please join me in acknowledging the roots and histories of our Native American students, faculty and staff, and in making UNT a more welcoming place for students from all cultures. After all, at UNT our differences are what make a difference, as our diversity continually enriches us individually and as a university community.

UNT Proud,
Neal Smatresk