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Native American Programs Director Michael S. Hanitchak '73
November 29, 2006
First, I would like to thank the Abenaki Nation for allowing us to be guests here in their homeland.
I would also like to thank all of my colleagues who stand behind me now from Student Life and the Office of Pluralism and Leadership. They give me strength.
I happen to be the Director of the Native American Program, but I stand before you today first as a Native person, second as an alumnus, third as a College administrator, and fourth as a member of this community.
I came here in 1969 and I count it as a privilege to have been among those first Native students who confronted some of these issues so many years ago. And I find it ironic that I stand here again today facing those same issues. You might ask, "Why did I stay here this long after all of that?" I stayed because of people. I stayed because of you who stand here today. I stayed because all of the people like you who came before you. And I stayed because of the people I work with who stand behind me now.
I don't have any Dartmouth gear on but I do have my well-worn Dartmouth umbrella. I have never worn Dartmouth gear, but I have always, always felt that I was a member of this community.
My community, Native Americans, happens to be at the front of things, this time, but we know that many of you have also felt the same things that we do. We know that you feel the same way when you see images like that which appeared yesterday. We know that you stand with us and we thank you.
We also know that for those of you who are not members of marginalized communities that it takes courage to stand up for those who are. We understand that you may not feel confident in being able to stand up for others. So we ask- the Native community and all of my colleagues in Student Life-we invite you to come to us and ask what can we do, and how can we learn how to best do it. Let us all stand together.
This gathering feels very much like it did when I was a student. I'm glad I stuck around to stand here again.