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East Carolina University dedicated a space outside the Main Campus Student Center to honor and recognize the indigenous communities in North Carolina.

East Carolina University on Nov. 9 dedicated a new space outside the Main Campus Student Center to honor and recognize the indigenous communities who have been traditional stewards of the land in eastern North Carolina.

This land acknowledgement demonstrates ECU’s commitment to diversity, scholarship and service, according to a news release.

Not only will the acknowledgement show the impact of indigenous peoples, but it will serve to educate non-indigenous students, faculty, staff and visitors to ECU’s campus, the release said.

These efforts will encourage unity, education and collaboration. In particular, it is hoped the location of the land acknowledgement will enhance the recruitment of prospective faculty, staff and students.

“The objective of the land acknowledgement is to bring to light the countless sacrifices and impact indigenous people have made in eastern North Carolina,” said Mariza James, Ledonia Wright Cultural Center interim director.

The dedicated space and land acknowledgment honors the Tuscarora people and the eight state-recognized tribes, including the Coharie, Eastern Band of Cherokee, Haliwa-Saponi, Lumbee, Meherrin, Occaneechi Band of Saponi, Sappony and Waccamaw-Siouan tribes.

The Tuscarora lived throughout eastern North Carolina until a four-year war with white settlers ended in 1715 when nearly 1,000 at Nooherooka in Greene County were killed or captured and sent into slavery.

“Since these tribes have inhabited these lands, we want to celebrate the Indigenous students, faculty and staff that have been a part of the success of ECU,” said Aleshia Hunt, Student Government Association financial adviser and member of Lumbee Nation.

The official land acknowledgement act reads: “We acknowledge the Tuscarora people, who are the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and live, and recognize their continuing connection to the land, water, and air that Greenville consumes. We pay respect to the eight state-recognized tribes of North Carolina; Coharie, Eastern Band of Cherokee, Haliwa-Saponi, Lumbee, Meherrin, Occaneechi Band of Saponi, Sappony, and Waccamaw-Siouan, all Nations, and their elders past, present, and emerging.”

The land acknowledgement act was ratified by the ECU SGA last year.

The indigenous space dedication is sponsored by the cultural center and aligns with its mission to provide experiences for ECU students to become confident, globally aware citizens.

Creating the space reaffirms the center’s commitment to creating a more culturally aware and responsible campus community, the release said.