Indigenous Language Path Working Group


President Fenves announced the reappointment and expansion of the Task Force on Untold Stories and Disenfranchised Populations in October 2020. In their report, delivered on April 1, 2021, the Task Force proposed a number of recommendations to memorialize Indigenous peoples who previously lived on land now owned by Emory, including the development of "physical reminders and remembrance rituals on campus, such as a Muscogee (Creek) Language Path that highlights Muscogee language and knowledge."

In fall 2021, the Emory Board of Trustees approved an official Land Acknowledgment Statement that "acknowledges the Muscogee (Creek) people who lived, worked, produced knowledge on, and nurtured the land where Emory's Oxford and Atlanta campuses are now located" and announced Emory's commitment to humbly and continually "seek to honor the Muscogee Nation and other Indigenous caretakers."


Building on the recommendations of the Task Force on Untold Stories and Disenfranchised Populations, President Fenves charged the Indigenous Language Path Working Group with:

  • Drafting a Request for Proposals for landscape and other artists to design physical reminders on the Oxford and Atlanta campuses that highlight Muscogee land and knowledge in relation to the land and history, and places for sharing knowledge. 
  • Developing plans for facilitating community input on the design proposals. 
  • Conducting research about Emory's history and its relations to Native American and Indigenous peoples that is relevant for the development of this project and sharing that research with the Emory Libraries to build on archives and materials.
  • Identifying opportunities for future academic and community collaborations to foster a pedagogy of place and proposing ways to orient the campus communities to the physical reminders and educate the community about their significance through continued engagement with Indigenous communities, annual events, campuswide programming, and orientation for new students to the Oxford and Atlanta campuses.  

The working group, co-chaired by Professor Malinda Maynor Lowery, Cahoon Family Professor in American History, and the Rev. Gregory W. McGonigle, University Chaplain and Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life, presented their recommendations to the president.

Community Engagement Sessions

In spring 2022, the Indigenous Language Path Working Group engaged Kauffman & Associates to lead listening sessions with members of the Emory community. Building on insights from the initial visit, Kauffman & Associates returned in fall 2022 to lead additional engagement sessions on the Oxford and Atlanta campuses to refine and discuss the community’s ideas and perspectives. Read the engagement reports here.

April 2022 Indigenous Language Path Engagement Report

October 2022 Indigenous Language Path Engagement Report

Working Group Membership


Email the chairs

Professor Malinda Maynor Lowery 
Cahoon Family Professor in American History, Emory College

Bio of Professor Lowery

Rev. Gregory W. McGonigle
University Chaplain and Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life

Bio of Rev. McGonigle

Hope BusseniusAssociate Professor, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing
Jack A. HardyAssistant Professor, Linguistics, Oxford College
Darren HutchinsonProfessor of Law and John Lewis Chair for Civil Rights and Social Justice, School of Law
Megan E. O'NeilAssistant Professor, Art History, Emory College of Arts and Sciences

Iliyah N. Bruffett 23CUndergraduate 
Stephanie N. BryanGraduate Student
Sierra Louise Talavera-Brown 23CUndergraduate

Zachary ColeChief of Staff, Office of the Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life
Taina FigueroaAssistant Director, Office for Racial and Cultural Engagement, Campus Life
James JohnsonProject Manager, Campus Services
Beth MichelAssociate Dean of Admission, Office of Undergraduate Admission

Ciannat M. HowettAssociate Vice President, Office of Resilience, Sustainability, and Economic Inclusion

Klamath Henry 19CMaster's student (anthropology), California State University–Fullerton

Rev. Chebon KernellExecutive Director, Native American Comprehensive Plan, and Executive Secretary of Native American and Indigenous Ministries of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church