A group of 16 individuals, half of them seated, are shown on a riser in this posed photograph.

In October 2022, citizens of the Muscogee Nation conducted a teach-in at Emory University that was rich with storytelling, dance and crafts and found grateful students in some 200 Emory community members.

Credit: Sarah Woods, Emory Photo

Emory University and the College of the Muscogee Nation are partnering to advance indigenous studies and create more speakers of the Muscogee language.

The university recently announced a $2.4 million-dollar grant from the Mellon Foundation that it’s sharing with the college.

Emory University American history professor Malinda Lowery says the partnership is part of what she calls a “healing” that’s taking place on campus.

“Emory is historically part of that structure of alienating land and resources away from Native people,” Lowery said.  “Now our priority is to support Native people, as they are survivors.”

The university calls it a first-of-its-kind partnership.

It also could become a model for other indigenous nations and institutions of higher learning.

“This is historic,” said Monte Randall, president of the College of the Muscogee Nation. “This is more than just a land acknowledgement. It’s something physical, something tangible, something that the students and the community can visualize and take part in.”

The Oklahoma-based college plans to establish a Muscogee language master-apprentice learning environment and transition from a two-year to four-year institution.

Meanwhile, the Georgia-based university plans to create new faculty and programs in Native American language, literature, history and the arts.

The Muscogee people lived in the present-day states of Georgia and Alabama before European colonization. Thousands were forcibly removed to Oklahoma.