In support of our Indigenous students, faculty and staff

To: UCSC Community

From: Cynthia Larive Chancellor and Lori Kletzer Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

Over the past weeks, we have had the opportunity to listen to community members about the impact of recent social media posts and anti-Indigenous language that called into question the identities and sense of inclusion of Native American and Indigenous students, staff, and faculty at UCSC, including those who coordinate the American Indian Resource Center (AIRC). We learned and are continuing to learn about the harm those words have caused off campus for the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and at UCSC, an environment that can feel hostile and unwelcoming to Native scholars and students.

Harmful language devalues the critical support that centers like the AIRC provide, both on our campus and across the country. The AIRC is particularly special because it is the direct result of student and community activism and agency. Throughout its history, the AIRC has maintained an important and close collaborative relationship with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, who continue to protect and steward the UCSC campus and surrounding lands that are integral to their cultural identity.

The AIRC is a place that has supported learning, community and most importantly, mutual respect for generations of Native American and Indigenous students, staff, and faculty members. We thank the AIRC Director Angel Riotutar for her leadership and the many staff and students who are honoring this strong legacy and building the future of the AIRC.

We’re also grateful to the Indigenous Faculty Network for calling us into the community, sharing their experiences, and moving forward together in partnership to further support educational opportunities about Native Americans on campus. We are looking forward to building increased understanding and respect in the face of recent and ongoing challenges to inclusion.

Too often we have to write letters of condemnation. Instead, this is a letter of affirmation and gratitude. Thank you to the students, faculty and staff who have held one another up and built a community for Native American and Indigenous people at UC Santa Cruz. No words can undo that work.

If you are feeling the impact of these events and need support, please do not hesitate to reach out to campus services. Counseling and Psychological Services provides a range of mental health and wellness services for students. On the Margins offers individual coaching sessions focused on healing and resiliency practices to deepen and sustain students’ personal, social, and academic well-being and goals. The professional staff in our colleges and our resource centers, including the American Indian Resource Center, do amazing work and can also provide support. Our Employee Assistance Program offers counseling and support to employees.