SJSU to open new resource center for Amerindian and Indigenous communities

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(Left to right) Tuan Nguyen, Field Representative, Assembly Bureau Member Ash Kalra, 27th Assembly District, Monica Arellano, Vice President, Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, Charlene Nijmeh, President, Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, Benjamin Anderson, Assistant Professor, Department of Accounting and Finance, Lucas College and Graduate School of Business & President, Gathering of Native and Native American Academics and SJSU President, Mary A. Papazian. Photo: David Schmitz

Today, San José State University (SJSU) announced the creation of a new resource center to support students, faculty and staff from or whose ancestors are from Native American and Indigenous communities. The center will also be accessible to South Bay area tribes and community members, including the Muwekma Ohlone tribe.

“Inherent in SJSU’s ongoing work on diversity and inclusion is the need to recognize and speak out about the inequalities that have historically been part of the fabric of our society and, yes, our own university,” said President Mary A. Papazian. “This new resource center for our Native American and Indigenous communities aligns with these goals and will be an essential part of our increased efforts to build stronger and supportive relationships with these communities. “

Representatives from the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe including President Charlene Nijmeh and Vice President Monica Arellano attended the event and spoke about Muwekma Ohlone’s connection to SJSU and the importance of providing resources to Native American students and indigenous.

“The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe has over 40 years of history of working with SJSU on many issues that affect our Indigenous communities, and we look forward to the opening of a Native American and Indigenous Resource Center to SJSU, which we hope will strengthen and improve the partnership between the tribe and the university, ”said Muwekma Ohlone Tribe President Charlene Nijmeh. “The Tribe is also excited to work with SJSU to potentially name the facility in our Chochenyo language and establish a campus presence to interact and share our story with SJSU staff and students.”

President Nijimeh added, “We also hope that this Native American center on campus not only honors Indigenous communities today, but also creates a safe space to explore the relationships between our shared communities both in the past and today. We all need to look to each other to foster a better understanding of the historical trauma that Indigenous communities have faced in order to help with the healing we need to move beyond our painful history and forge a more inclusive and positive relationship between them. with each other.

The San José State Campus is located on the ancestral lands of the Muwekma Ohlone people. The university is also home to some of his ancestral remains and is currently in the process of repatriating these remains under California state law.

In December 2021, the SJSU sent a letter urging U.S. Home Secretary Deb Haaland to clarify the federal status of the Muwekma Ohlone tribe.

“The Muwekma Ohlone tribal government survives and thrives today,” said Vincent J. Del Casino, Jr., rector and senior vice president of academic affairs. “After decades of struggling to gain recognition for their sovereign status, it is time to give the Muwekma Ohlone people the justice they deserve.”

The center will receive seed funding from the Adobe Anchor Institution grant, which will enable the center to provide digital literacy resources and tools to Native American teachers and students.

the The Native American and Indigenous Resource Center is scheduled to open in 2022.

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