University of Lynchburg formally acknowledges grounds as historical Monacan land, creates scholarship for tribe students

Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 3:45 PM EDT
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - This week, University of Lynchburg leaders made progress on recognizing the long history of the land its buildings now sit on.

The university has formally acknowledged the land once belonged to the Monacan Indian tribe. They call the action an example for students who walk these grounds.

“It’s important that we as a university, especially university leaders, sort of model the way for our students to be well-versed in the university that they call home,” said Dr. Robert Canida II, vice president for inclusive excellence.

Canida says when University of Lynchburg leaders first began discussion on a formal recognition, they wanted to do more than just put words on paper.

They’ve now also created a scholarship for Monacan tribe members, renewable for four years.

“The Monacan scholarship is available for full-time students who are members of the Monacan Indian Nation who qualify for admission to the University of Lynchburg,” said Canida.

Those with the tribe call this a win for Monacans everywhere. They say it helps make amends for actions taken against the Native Americans centuries ago.

“It’s almost like a small stepping stone to mend the gap of the broken treaties that took place over native ancestral land,” said Lou Branham.

“This was the right thing for the right reason to create this statement but also to add substance to it,” said Canida.

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