Nyá:wę. This means thank you in my indigenous tongue.

I would like to open up my senior reflection by thanking the ancestral peoples of the lands upon which Emory University currently resides, and those who were enslaved and forced to build the infrastructure on Emory University lands. Emory University is located on the traditional lands of the Muscogee Creek peoples. The Muscogee Creek were forcibly removed by the U.S. government in 1834. This event would go on to be remembered as the Trail of Tears. Nyá:wę to those ancestors and modern-day Muscogee people who continue to care for the land. Nyá:wę to those who built Emory University.

My name, “Klamath,” means “people of the river.” I am from the Shasta tribe of California and the Tuscarora tribe of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. The Tuscarora tribe I come from is a sovereign nation surrounded by the State of New York. My family currently lives in Northern Nevada, which is where I was raised. My family is my world. My tribes are my people. Nyá:wę to my Earth family and my ancestors.

My Emory experience started on the softball field. If it were not for being recruited to play softball, I would never have been a student at Emory. Prior to being recruited, I did not know Emory existed! Playing college softball gave me confidence and allowed me to gain the experience that I will need to continue my coaching career. Two seasons into my college career, my spinal injury forced me to retire from playing but did not keep me away from the game. Nyá:wę to the Emory Athletics program, my coaches and my teammates for developing me into a strong leader.

My activism has been filled with many unique and enriching experiences. Learning from other students of color and marginalized communities has expanded the way I think about the world. Thank you to Emory administration for listening to me. Nyá:wę to the Emory activist community for teaching me how to persist. Nyá:wę to the Emory administration for listening to me speak.

My professors have been exceptionally inspiring. Every professor I have had in my time at Emory has given me the tools I will need to excel. From them, I have learned how to think critically, deeply and intellectually. Nyá:wę to my professors for teaching me how to learn.

I am happy to be graduating this Spring but excited to continue my journey. Y’all at Emory have grown, shaped, pushed, challenged, demolished and uplifted me.

Nyá:wę, Emory. The past four years were amazing.

Klamath Henry is from Fernley, Nev., and served as an intern at the Commission on Racial and Social Justice. After graduating, Henry will pursue graduate studies in cultural anthropology and work as a graduate assistant to the softball program at California State University, Fullerton.