25th Annual Native American Graduation


May 13, 2021

In a virtual gathering in May, Bailey Warrior Pahang, J.D., from the Gonzaga School of Law Class of 2021, shared her hopes for using her education and her cultural knowledge to “dismantle systems of oppression, affirm my future clients in their identity and amplify indigenous voices.”

Offering a land acknowledgement, she said, “Every single one of us is sitting on stolen land, the land of our indigenous communities. We express our deepest respect for and gratitude to the original caretakers of this land. I am currently meeting with you from the unceded ancestral lands of the Interior Salish people, specifically the Spokane Tribe of Indians, a people that are still here, continuing to honor and demonstrate that indigenous existence is resistance.”

Pahang continued, “Wherever you may be sitting today, I encourage you to research the original people of your region. Learn the history, establish and maintain relationships with our tribes and Native peoples, and support tribal sovereignty. This is one way to reject generations of systemic erasure and genocide, and amplify indigenous voices.”

Learn about whose land you’re currently occupying:

“Indigenous people are not relics of the past. We are still here and we continue to demonstrate our talent and gifts amid a backdrop of ongoing colonialism and oppression. Our elders, our youth, our graduates, and everyone in between, are worth celebrating,” said Pahang.

Congrats to the following 2021 graduates:

  • James Best, Spokane Tribe – M.A., Organizational Leadership
  • Logan James, Swinomish – B.A., Biology
  • Bailey Warrior Pahang, Lummi Nation descendant (“survivors of the great flood”) – J.D., School of Law
  • Alec Tabish, Spokane Tribe descendant – B.B.A., Accounting
  • Veronica Veaux, Leech Land Band of Ojibwe, Minnesota – Ph.D., Leadership Studies

 

a screen capture of a video meeting of 5 native american individuals

View the program here.