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Honorary Degree for Covington

Published: November 25, 2015

CHENEY, Washington - Eastern Washington University and its Board of Trustees (BOT) posthumously conferred an honorary degree on Lucy Covington, a leader from the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, during a ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 24, at Spokane's Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. The day marked the 105th anniversary of her birthday.

The BOT bestowed the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters on the late Covington, who changed the course of American Indian history through her courageous leadership. Covington was instrumental in reversing the U.S. government's effort to terminate its unique relationship with Indian tribes. Covington's niece, Barbara Aripa, will attend the ceremony to accept the honorary degree.

In addition to this honorary degree, Eastern is officially announcing the establishment of the Lucy Covington Center at EWU. The center honors Covington's leadership and historical legacy by working to educate the next generation of Native American leaders.

Covington worked in the 1950s and '60s, to effectively organize an end to "termination"-an ill-conceived federal policy designed to wrest control of land and natural resources from tribal ownership, by terminating tribal status. Her actions helped preserve tribal sovereignty and self-determination for the Colville Tribe and many others across the country.

The Lucy Covington Center will strive to provide financial support, scholarships and internships for Native American students at Eastern. It will also seek to address the emerging issues and challenges facing tribes by drawing together national speakers, scholars and Native leaders.

EWU has a longtime commitment to the region's First Peoples, and to first-generation college students. EWU established a contemporary American Indian Studies Program in the mid-1960s, which has grown from a purely academic focus to include student services and research. The Lucy Covington Center will build on this legacy.


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