Dalton Locklear, president of the Carolina Indian Circle, said he doesn't think UNC appropriately acknowledges that the University sits on the land of the Occaneechi nation.
“American Indian Heritage Month gives us the time and opportunity to reflect on that,” he said.
The University is currently hosting multiple events in recognition of the month. These activities started on Nov. 1 and will continue until Nov. 13.
The leading event is a keynote speech presented by University of Manitoba professor Niigaan Sinclair. The lecture is titled “Indigenizing the University: A Call to Action” and will take place on Nov. 9 at 3 p.m. in Hyde Hall.
Sinclair said his speech is about equipping Indigenous populations in universities with the resources they need, in addition to forming relationships with Indigenous individuals. Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations need to work together, he said, and universities should be the places to begin to educate the nation.
“It might just be that Indigenous knowledge is going to save the world,” he said.
Sinclair also said Indigenous populations are a key foundation of America, and that non-Indigenous people need to recognize these roots. Indigenous people have the most experience living in the lands they inhabit, he said.
“You have to invest in Indigenous education,” he added.
Marissa Carmi, associate director of the UNC American Indian Center, said North Carolina has a huge population of Native people and according to the center's website, the state has one of the largest populations of Native Americans east of the Mississippi River.