Posted on October 8, 2021

Emory Apologizes for Campuses Displacing Native Americans

Ernie Suggs and Eric Stirgus, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 28, 2021

Emory University, in a move aimed at healing centuries-old wounds, has apologized for its role in displacing Native Americans.

On Monday, the Emory board of trustees approved an official “Land Acknowledgment for Emory University” that “acknowledges the Muscogee (Creek) people who lived, worked, produced knowledge on, and nurtured the land where Emory’s Oxford and Atlanta campuses are now located.”

In a statement issued by President Gregory L. Fenves, the acknowledgment “sheds light on a tragic chapter in the Emory story.”

“It also reminds us of the important work that lies ahead to create a university community that is more inclusive of Native and Indigenous perspectives, learning, and scholarship,” Fenves said.

Emory’s announcement came 10 years after the board of trustees adopted a formal statement of regret over the school’s historic involvement with African-American slavery.

It also came ahead of the university’s “In the Wake of Slavery and Dispossession” symposium starting Wednesday. The three-day event will explore the school’s history with slavery and Native American land dispossession and examine through panels, performances and art installations how that history affects the present.


Malinda Maynor Lowery, an American history professor, and Gregory McGonigle, university chaplain, will chair a working group to honor and highlight Muscogee language and culture.

“Land acknowledgments are not effective if they aren’t followed by meaningful action,” said Lowery, a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. “Everywhere you step, on Emory’s campus or in Atlanta, you are on Muscogee Creek land. This is a chance to immerse our community in what that means.”