Native American representation at Tech

Left to right: Cherokee Chuck Brasfield and Muscogee President Bill Skillman carry sacred drum for use in Native American Students Association’s meetings in late October of 2001. 

Last week, I followed a lead at the Southwest Collections Library on-campus and noticed the lack of Native American representation we have at Texas TechDespite living on Comanche and Mescalero Apache land, there is little to no Indigenous traces on campus and within the Lubbock area. 

Before Lubbock was established, the land was called Llano Estacado. The Comanche people most recently ruled the area which included parts of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado

From the Texan perspective, the 1800s was a great battle to defeat the Comanche people, but the Comanche people were nearly eradicated by Texan invaders. A twisted narrative to ‘save bison’ massacred the animal population and multiple epidemics crushed the Comanche population.

Quanah Parker, the last war chief of the Comanche Tribe, moved the small number of people left in the tribe to Oklahoma. 

Today, 125 Indigenous students attend Tech, according to Texas Tech institutional research. In other words, the native population is one of the smallest populations on campus. Although many organizations present land acknowledgments to admit the fact we live on stolen land, what compensates for the attack manifest destiny waged on Indigenous people? Yes, scholarships exist and with the support of the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Indigenous Peoples Heritage month is celebrated in November.

However, there is only so much you can do to ask for forgiveness when Texans should have asked for permission in the first place.

Although I am not of Native American descent, I am an Asian-American who understands the lack of people from the same backgrouncan be discouraging. To be an Indigenous student, studying at a university on stolen land, receiving minor compensation should not be normal.

Let’s be honest, Tech missed a claim to many notable alumni because colonialism drives to steal, consume and seclude culture rather than invite greater opportunities and allyship. Imagine if a descendant of Quana Parker attended Texas Tech University and imagine the impact it would give Indigenous students on campus. 

While colonialism advanced the western world, it kills culture. Culture is one of the only things that can define our humanityNot being able to claim distinguished alumni only scratches the surface on how pitiful it is to thrive on stolen land without its native people. 

If you identify as Native American or an Indigenous person, I would love to hear your perspective. Contact me through email

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