The Office of Diversity Education (DEI) works to promote and enhance diversity, inclusion, and equity among faculty, staff, and students on campus. DEI is also committed to efforts that support social justice, racial healing, and creating a positive campus climate.
The Office of Diversity Education Offers:
- Support for historically underrepresented students in higher education.
- Advising for cultural and identity-based student organizations.
- Workshops on Identity, Power and Privilege (IPP), Cultural Humility, and Implicit Bias for the Western Michigan University community.
- Events and programs to promote awareness about diversity and inclusion.
- Networking and outreach opportunities for faculty, staff, and students.
- Diversity Training and Workshops
- A Real Talk Diversity Series
- Leadership Development for Students
- Interactive Workshops
- Space for students to study, hold group meetings and relax.
- Heritage month programs throughout the academic year
Native American Heritage Month
Native American Heritage Month began as a week-long celebration in 1986, when President Reagan proclaimed the week of November 23-30, 1986 as "American Indian Week." Every President since 1995 has issued annual proclamations designating the month of November as the time to celebrate the culture, accomplishments, and contributions of people who were the first inhabitants of the United States.
There are over 9 million Native Americans and Native Alaskans living in the United States today. And with over 500 federally recognized tribes, there are hundreds of different cultures that are as unique as the people they represent. From artwork and literature, to cuisine and music, there is much to appreciate and learn.
While many refer to Native people as Native American, the National Museum of the American Indian notes that it's best to use the individual tribal name, when possible. In the United States, Native American is the most common term, but many Native people prefer the terms American Indian or Indigenous American instead. When in doubt, always ask people what they prefer to called.
Every November, we celebrate Native American Heritage Month, also known as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. It's a chance to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions and histories and important contributions of Native American people, along with acknowledging their hardship and struggles both throughout history and in the present day.
(Excerpt from online article by Christina Montoya Fielder, to see the full article, go to https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/a38083079/native-american-heritage...)
1. American Indian Day started in the early 1900s. In 1916, Red Fox James, a member of the Blackfeet Nation, rode horseback from state to state to get endorsements from 24 state governments to establish a day to honor American Indians. This resulted in the very first American Indian Day. It was held in New York and took place on the second Saturday in May 1916. Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian, who was the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, N.Y. persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the “First Americans” in 1915.
2. Native American Heritage Month evolved from a week. Native American Heritage Month first evolved from "American Indian Week,” which President Reagan proclaimed on the week of November 23-30, 1986. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.” It was later changed to Native American Heritage month under President Barack Obama.
3. Indigenous People's Day also recognizes Native heritage. President Joseph Biden was the first to recognize Indigenous People’s Day as a National Holiday, which will now be held each year on October 11. For many people, it's a counter-celebration to Columbus Day, a federal holiday which falls on the same day
4. Columbus did not "discover" the Americas. When Europe "discovered" the Americas, there were already 50 million Native Americans and Indigenous peoples living there. Of that, 10 million were in what was to become the United States.
5. Native people were forcibly relocated in the early 1800s. In 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, which empowered the federal government to take Native-held land east of Mississippi and forcibly relocate Native people from their homes in Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee to “Indian territory” in what is now Oklahoma.
6. The Trail of Tears marks important history. The Trail of Tears was part of a series of forced displacements of approximately 60,000 Native Americans between 1830 and 1850. During that time, nearly 4,000 died of disease, exposure and malnutrition. To recognize and remember their history, you can walk parts of the Trail of Tears in Springfield, Missouri.
7. Native Americans were granted citizenship in the 1920's. It wasn’t until 1924 that Native Americans were granted citizenship after Congress enacted the Indian Citizenship Act. While Native Americans were also given the right to vote in 1924, it took another 40 years for all 50 states to allow them voting rights.
8. Native populations continue to grow. In 2020, 9.1 million people in the United States identified as Native American and Alaska Native, an increase of 86.5% increase over the 2010 census. They now account for 2.9% of the population. By 2060, the Native American and Alaska Native population is expected to be 10.1 million and account for 2.5% of the population. Alaska has the largest population of Native Americans in the United States, followed closely by Oklahoma.
9. Tribal lands occupy a huge swath of the U.S. There are approximately 326 Indian land areas in the U.S. administered as federal Indian reservations, covering more than 56 million acres. Currently, there are 574 federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and villages.
10. Football teams are changing offensive names. In 2020, The Washington Redskins changed their name to The Washington Football team, dropping “Redskins” which is a derogatory term often used for those of Native American descent. The Cleveland Indians followed suit and are now known as the Cleveland Guardians.
Diversity Education Workshops:
Identity, Power, and Privilege
This introductory workshop is designed to introduce the conversation of racial disparity through the lens of identity, power, and privilege. Participants are asked to come with an open mind, prepared to listen to and discourse about topics that are sometimes challenging to discuss. During this workshop participants will:
- Engage in meaningful conversations with colleagues around multiple concepts and perspectives in a brave space.
- Gain the knowledge and/or strengthen understanding of vocabulary and concepts related to social identities. Reflect on their social identities and openly discuss overarching themes with their colleagues.
- Gain the knowledge and/or strengthen understanding of target and non-target identities.
- Practice differentiating between the levels of oppression. Exercise creative thinking and reflection on how we can build inclusive environments and services for students.
- Define the concepts associated with implicit bias.
- Identify their own implicit bias(es) and learn the impact of them in personal and professional spaces.
- Identify skills in which to discuss the impact of (implicit) biases and how to mitigate the impact of these biases in their personal and professional interactions.
MicroaggressionsThis advanced workshop is designed to assist participants with the ability to recognize and alleviate microaggressions, personally and professionally. Microaggressions involve the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership. In this interactive workshop, participants will:
- Define the concept of microaggression.
- Discuss examples of microaggressions in both their personal and professional lives.
- Explore the impact microaggressions have in institutions of higher education.
- Reflect on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes which are associated with microaggressions.
- Identify ways to alleviate microaggressions in their holistic lives.
Cultural HumilityThis intermediary workshop is intended to assist participants with understanding and minimizing the role of unconscious bias within their organization. Through education and discussion, this training strategy teaches employees how to recognize and manage their biases. In this workshop, participants will:
- Define the concept of cultural humility.
- Discuss the difference between cultural competence and cultural humility.
- Highlight the role cultural humility plays in higher education.
- Explore the dynamics of difference.
- Reflect on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes which are associated with cultural humility.