We are honored to recognize you today, on Ute, Cheyenne, and Arapaho lands, the next generation of leaders, thinkers, poets, and builders. You have emerged like the wind refreshing us with new ways of thinking and seeing the world, offering new imaginaries and possibilities. You have built on the knowledge of your communities from back home and have dedicated time to study the ancestors, artists, activists, and the wisdom of peoples different than you. You have resisted the false claims of history, someone else’s manufactured history, beyond el encubrimiento (the cover up) to see other healing possibilities unfolding.
You now depart from our Ethnic Studies learning community at CU in a time of global crisis emanating from the natural world. But, remember this, Nature is also our teacher. Learning from Nature enhances our ability to learn from other things and see how interconnected we are. This is a key principle in our interdisciplinary degree, namely that knowledge comes in different forms and from many different places.
We, the community of Ethnic Studies Department, are so very proud of your accomplishments and with the integrity that you’ve demonstrated in arriving at this point in your life journey. It is a time to celebrate you, your family, and your community.
We recognize the fact that we can’t share these words of recognition for your accomplishments in person, but we aspire and hope that we’ll be able to hold a ceremony and celebration for you and your family in the coming winter. For now, we send you our heartfelt congratulations, felicidades, pongezi (Kiswahili, E. Africa), and — itsvyaliheliga (Cherokee, “we are happy for you all”)!