How we engage Indigeneity

The Designing Just Futures Cluster initiative prioritizes research focused on and in partnership with Indigenous Peoples. As such, it is critical to elaborate on our engagement with Indigeneity as part of this cluster hire initiative.

First, UC San Diego occupies the unceded homelands of the Kumeyaay Nation. The lands presently occupied by the campus have been and will always be home to the Kumeyaay Nation. As such, our university has a moral and ethical responsibility to the Kumeyaay Nation, their ancestors, members, and descendants. 

Second, our campus is located in a tri-national region, where the Kumeyaay Nation is overlaid by the nation-states of United States and Mexico. Therefore, we have a commitment to transnational Indigenous communities that traverse ancestral territories across man-made borders. 

Third, Indigenous, Black, and Migrant communities are not mutually exclusive identities. We acknowledge that Black Indigenous communities, relations, and kinships take many forms. We acknowledge that Indigenous peoples migrated throughout history, and as a result of forced displacements more recently.   

Simultaneously, we recognize that when Indigenous Peoples are not centered, they fall out of conversations and become marginalized even within initiatives intended to address educational equity and opportunity through broader definitions of diversity. 

Following the US Census for American Indian or Alaska Native as a racial category, the University of California uses the following definition wherein people can self-identify as “having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community attachment.” This definition does not adequately reflect our stated commitments above. We hope to be more clear by asserting: We deliberately prioritize scholarship with and by Indigenous Peoples who are members or lineal descendants of federally and non-federally recognized Native Nations, including Kumeyaay Nation, California Native Nations, American Indian, Alaska Native, Aboriginal Nations, Pasifika peoples, Indigenous communities of the Americas/Turtle Island/Abya Yala broadly, and other Indigenous communities who may not be adequately named on this list.

Finally, we echo the statement by the Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association that we are all responsible to act in an ethical fashion by standing against Indigenous identity fraud.

NAISA Council Statement on Indigenous Identity Fraud. 15 September 2015