As many of you know, Winona State University is situated on the ancestral lands of the Dakota people. We are committed to acknowledging and honoring the Dakota Nations—and the sacred land of all Indigenous People—and we routinely work with and seek counsel from the Oceti Ŝakowiŋ.
It was through our partnership with the Oceti Ŝakowiŋ that a recommendation emerged to take action to address a prominent mural on campus that has been found to be not only historically inaccurate but also deeply hurtful to Indigenous Peoples.
As part of our ongoing efforts to create an inclusive campus environment, we will be installing removable panels to cover the mural in the Somsen Hall entryway. The project, which started this week and is scheduled to be completed by the end of the month, will remove the mural from public view while preserving it for continued discussion and learning opportunities surrounding equity and bias. (Read more on the WSU News Blog.)
I am truly grateful to our community of learners for its continued effort to turn thought into action. We will not rest until Winona State University, Winona, and Rochester are truly equitable and inclusive.
Scott R. Olson