Duke Student Government senators passed a resolution in support of a proposed Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) program and the establishment of a Native American and Indigenous Center for Culture at its Wednesday meeting.
Presented by junior Jada Allen and senior Rashad Rahman, the resolution adovcates for the establishment of a NAIS program and a Native American and Indigenous Center for Culture. Calling upon Duke administration for its support, the resolution also advocates for a taskforce of Duke community members to lead these efforts.
The resolution points to the results of a survey released by the Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance (NAISA) and DSG that gauged student interest in a potential minor.
Of the 174 responses to the survey, all respondents were in support of the minor, 93 indicated that they were “definitely or probably interested” in a NAIS major and 168 supported the creation of a Center for American Indian research at Duke.
The resolution cites NAISA’s findings, which found that 21 of the top 25 schools in the United States provide better support for Indigenous students. The resolution also compares efforts to support Indigenous students at Duke to those at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which houses an American Indian Center and offers an American Indian and Indigenous studies major and minor.
The resolution also notes the existence of the Trinity College Cherokee Industrial Boarding School, which was identified as one of four Federal Indian boarding schools in North Carolina in a 2022 investigative report, and points to previous demands released by NAISA, many of which remain unmet.
“At Duke, the failure to provide NAIS instruction harms all students — but especially Indigenous students, who endure continuous erasure of their identities, experiences, and histories on and off campus,” the resolution reads. “The failure to accommodate the needs of Indigenous students and scholars results in Duke falling behind other institutions and diminished diversity of lived experiences on campus.”
The academic affairs committee has furthered progress on its Graduate Lunch program, under which undergraduate students can grab lunch with Duke graduate students. The committee reported that over 150 graduate students signed up for the program and is hoping to find similar enthusiasm from the undergraduate population.
The campus life committee recently spoke with Carl DePinto, executive director of Duke Parking & Transportation. Committee members discussed increased transparency on the Parking & Transportation website. DePinto believes that parking space will not be an issue on campus next semester despite the return of many juniors from various study abroad programs, but is open to reconsidering in the future.
The equity and outreach committee reported that it is awaiting results from its survey on its project to revamp the Duke LIFE space in Perkins Library.
The Durham and community affairs committee has continued work on Democracy Day in partnership with the campus life committee as well as a Durham Welcome Box for new, incoming students to better introduce them to Durham.
In other business
DSG senators allocated $3,170 for duARTS’ annual Winter Wonderland event, $6,225 to the Muslim Students Association for a guest speaker event featuring Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad in collaboration with the Duke University Union, $1,500 to the Students of the Caribbean Association for its Winterfete celebration, $1,500 for Students for Justice in Palestine’s Linking Liberation Struggles event and $3,400 for United in Praise’s winter concert.
Senators also passed a budgetary statute allocating $800 to buy food for the final senate meeting of fall 2023.
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Jeremiah Fang is a Trinity sophomore and a staff reporter for the news department.