Land Acknowledgement statement update:
Early in 2022, Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Sibby Anderson-Thompkins established the Indigenous Engagement Initiative to conduct research and develop an institutional Land Acknowledgment Statement and recommend actions to support an authentic engagement with local and state Indigenous communities. The IEI has engaged local indigenous groups to understand how they would like to be acknowledged. Our local indigenous partners ask that until such time as we have an approved land acknowledgement statement, individuals who wish to use or provide such a statement use the following:
“The University of the South is situated on land sacred to numerous Indigenous tribes. As part of its commitment to Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation, the University, through its Indigenous Engagement Initiative, is reaching out to tribal representatives to build a mutually respectful and sustainable community. Initial efforts have underscored the importance of deep listening and deference to tribes through a mindful and holistic process of exploring shared history and discovering common goals, including how tribes would prefer to be acknowledged. It is the University's goal that specific acknowledgment, in whatever form it takes, will ultimately comprise only a small part of a healing and shared future.”

The Indigenous Engagement Initiative (IEI) Steering Committee reports to the Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and advises on the development of institutional Land Acknowledgement statements and communications. The IEI supports education and community engagement on the Trail of Tears and Indigenous/American Indian history and culture.

To achieve this purpose, the IEI pursues the following goals:

  • Foster relationships with local Indigenous communities and the Tennessee Trail of Tears Association;
  • Identify and highlight faculty research or course listings that focus on history, government, language, literature, art, music, economy, or the world views of Indigenous peoples;
  • Develop programs and/or initiatives to enrich the Sewanee community's understanding and knowledge of Indigenous/American Indian life and heritage;
  • Pursue and support the matriculation of students and the hiring of faculty and staff of Indigenous heritage; and
  • Make Sewanee a welcoming and inclusive place for Indigenous/American Indian students, faculty, and staff.
Committee members
  • C. Albert Bardi, Associate Professor of Psychology (Committee Chair)
  • Sibby Anderson-Thompkins, Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • April Alvarez, Associate Director of the School of Letters
  • Lisa Burner, Assistant Professor of Spanish
  • Alison Miller, Associate Professor of Art & Art History, Chair of Asian Studies
  • Sarah Sherwood, University Archaeologist and Professor of Environmental Studies
  • Christian Shushok, C'24
  • Jackson Sparkman, C'23
  • Ken Smith, Professor of Earth and Environmental Systems
  • David Stark, Assistant Professor of Homiletics, School of Theology
  • Floyd Ayers, Board Member, Winchester Chapter of the Tennessee Trail of Tears Association
  • Madison Buttonow, Community Member
  • Lindi Masur, Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology