The terms Native, Aboriginal, and Indigenous are used interchangeably in this resolution to refer to the Indigenous populations of the world, To grasp issues that are imperative to our understanding of Indigenous people in the world today, it is vital to have information about and reflection upon the past and that Native, Aboriginal, and Indigenous People “occupy a liminal space that accounts for both the legal/political and racialized natures of our identities” (Brayboy, 2006, p. 432). Governmental policy regarding Native people and Governmental-Tribal relations, within both the United States and Canada, are topics deeply rooted in the history of the political relationship between the governments and Native, Aboriginal, Indigenous tribes and communities (Canby, 2015).  As such, they touch upon and are influenced by the Constitution, treaties, statutes, executive orders, court decisions, and administrative actions. These legal statuses define Native, Aboriginal, and Indigenous people with both a legal/political identity as well as a racial group (Brayboy, 2006) and distinguish Native peoples from other under-represented or minority groups.

The nations in North America are built upon the homelands of Indigenous Peoples, despite governmental boundaries that have been superimposed upon the lands in North America, the Indigenous Peoples share many commonalities:

From time immemorial, the lands that are now known as Canada and the United States of America have been and continue to be the sacred home of Indigenous Peoples and Nations; While our Indigenous Peoples and Nations have distinct identities, cultures, languages and traditions, we have also been guided by many common purposes and beliefs, which have been shaped by many common experiences…We have all experienced outside encroachment upon our traditional homelands and we have striven to co-exist with other peoples and cultures in peace. (Assembly of First Nations, 1999)

It is important that ACPA–College Student Educators International recognize Native, Aboriginal, and Indigenous people as traditional stewards of the land as this is a critical part of demonstrating respect for the Indigenous peoples of North America. This includes but is not limited to following appropriate protocol for an acknowledgement that should be made at the opening and closing of events, conferences, and workshops held within the traditional homelands.

The precedence of naming special advisors for Native American affairs or tribal liaisons within post-secondary education is well established with institutions such as: Montana State University, University of Idaho, University of New Mexico, Washington State University, University of Oregon, Northern Arizona University, and Arizona State University (Francis-Begay, 2013). These positions were created for and acknowledge the complexity of working within the political and racial identities of Indigenous people and tribal nations. Many of these positions have responsibilities to foster and develop relationships with sovereign tribal nations, ensure appropriate culturally relevant programs and initiatives are provided, and improve the opportunities for access to educational services and success for students.


The Native, Aboriginal, and Indigenous Network requests the adoption of the following resolutions:

  1. ACPA will appoint a Special Advisor to the Executive Director for Native, Aboriginal, and Indigenous issues, in an effort to establish a systemic mechanism through which Indigenous peoples can advise and effectively participate in Association decision-making processes. The Special Advisor to the Executive Director will advise and provide recommendations on Indigenous issues to ensure robust procedures and mechanisms within ACPA are inclusive of Indigenous peoples. This Advisor will ensure adequate and timely consultation as the ACPA-College Student Educators International Governing Board and International Office work to strengthen and build collaborative, respectful partnerships between Native, Aboriginal, and Indigenous communities and ACPA-College Student Educators International.
  2. ACPA will appoint a Special Advisor to the Convention Planning Team for Native, Aboriginal, and Indigenous issues. The Special Advisor to the Convention Planning Team will be a member of the core planning team and will represent Indigenous people/issues in convention planning in order to enable and ensure effective representation and participation in decision-making and Indigenous protocol. This position will work to strengthen and build collaborative partnerships with the Indigenous communities as ACPA hosts events within territories of Indigenous Nations and previously occupied lands. This position will ensure appropriate implementation of protocols and promote the integration and coordination of activities related to Indigenous issues.
  3. In keeping with our cultural traditions of consensus, the Native, Aboriginal, and Indigenous Network will name the individuals to serve in the capacities of Special Advisor to the Executive Director for Native, Aboriginal, and Indigenous issues and the Special Advisor to Convention Planning Team for Native, Aboriginal, and Indigenous issues for a specified period of time.


Assembly of First Nations. (1999).  Declaration of Kinship and Cooperation among the Indigenous Peoples and Nations of North America. Retrieved from

Brayboy, B. M. J. (2006). Toward a tribal critical race theory in education. The Urban Review, 37(5), 425-446. doi: 10.1007/s11256-005-0018-y

Canby Jr, W. (2015). American Indian law in a nutshell (6th ed.). St. Paul, MN: West Academic.

Francis-Begay, K. (2013). The role of the special advisor to the president on Native American affairs. In H. J. Shotton, S. C. Lowe & S. J. Waterman (Eds.), Beyond the asterisk: Understanding Native students in higher education. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC.

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