NAU Diversity Writing Style Guide
Diversity: The complexity of personal experiences, values, and worldviews that arise from differences and intersections of culture and circumstance. Such differences and intersections include race, sex, ethnicity, age, religion, language, ability/disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression; socioeconomic, veteran, or other status; or geographic region.
As a diverse and inclusive public four-year institution of higher learning, it is Northern Arizona University’s responsibility to use language with care, consistency, and respect.
With this in mind, University Marketing, in collaboration with other campus communicators and stakeholders and with input from numerous international professional resources*, has created a guide that attempts to address common questions that may arise when staff create or modify content that is about and/or speaks to particular groups of people.
Words matter, so this document will attempt to offer thoughtful, practical guidance in speaking to or about:
- people of various races and ethnicities, including American Indian/Indigenous, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latine, Asian and Asian American, and Pacific Islander
- people with differing abilities, including mental health concerns and neurodivergence
- underserved and economically disadvantaged students
- individuals who are gay, transgender, and non-binary
- the older population
Each of these is a huge topic unto itself, and the language around many of these groups is changing, in some cases very rapidly.
This guide is an evolving document. Therefore, we need you—NAU employees who will use the style guide in your work—to offer direction, note important omissions, and ask questions. Your input will ensure this document continually improves and accurately, fairly, and compassionately refers and speaks to our many and varied audiences.
Contact us at email@example.com with any feedback or questions.
*A comprehensive directory that includes all of the outside resources used in the creation of this document is available upon request.
Gender is not synonymous with sex. According to Merriam-Webster, “a clear delineation between sex and gender is typically prescribed, with sex as the preferred term for biological forms, and gender limited to its meanings involving behavioral, cultural, and psychological traits. In this dichotomy, the terms male and female relate only to biological forms (sex), while the terms masculine/masculinity, feminine/femininity, woman/girl, and man/boy relate only to psychological and sociocultural traits (gender).
Since not everyone falls in the category of male/man or female/woman, in your writing, avoid references to both as inclusive of all people. Consider referring to a person or people or, if appropriate, including the term non-binary as a way to encompass all people.
Transgender refers to someone whose biology at birth does not match their gender identity. Transgender is an adjective (it must be modified by a noun such as person, artist, activist, etc.) A transgender man is someone who identifies as a man but whose biology at birth was not male. A transgender woman is someone who identifies as a woman but whose biology at birth was not female. Do not use transgender as a noun or use the term transgendered.
Exception: In federal reporting, such as terms used by the National Center for Education Statistics IPEDs, federal enrollment, and graduation rates, sex and gender ARE used interchangeably, and this data refers to men and women (not male and female).
Note: When interviewing someone or otherwise referring to someone, ask the individual how they want to be identified (e.g., male, female, man, woman, transgender, gender fluid, non-binary, etc.). Ask, too, if there are any terms they prefer not be used in reference to them and in what cases.
Acceptable gender terms
- alumna/us: A woman who has graduated from a school takes the Latin term alumna. To reference a man, alumnus is used. For two or more women, the proper term is alumnae. If two people who are both men or a man and a woman are referenced, the correct term is alumni. Although we generally avoid the use of the casual alum, it may be used in reference to a graduate who uses they/them pronouns.
- first-year student: Use for prospect-facing materials as we phase out the gendered freshman.
- freshman: Use for materials aimed at older audiences because freshman/freshmen is so widely understood.
- gender and race/ethnicity: Some gender-neutral references for specific races and ethnicities are still under discussion. However, NAU prefers Latine to replace Latino/a and Filipinx to replace Filipino/a. We should always defer to an individual’s personal preference when referring to one person, but should use gender-inclusive terms when referring to groups without a specific gender.
- gender-neutral pronouns: Since there is no gender-neutral term in English for a single person, and using one is typically overly formal for most types of writing, you may wonder about when to use he or she (or both, or if you should alternate he and she). This is an important question because part of writing inclusively is balancing references to genders.
If you can reword a sentence to avoid gender, that’s ideal. If that’s not possible, you may opt to use they or their to indicate that the gender of the individual referenced is either not known or the reference applies to any gender.
Consider using the suffix –person (e.g., spokesperson instead of spokesman) in your writing to avoid presuming maleness. Ask the person whose title you’re referencing what they prefer, if possible. Be aware, too, of words that use –ess and denote femaleness, such as actress or waitress. When possible, choose a gender-neutral alternate, such as actor or server.
The singular they: When referring specifically to a person who does not identify with a gender-specific pronoun, they and its forms are often preferred. (They, used in this sense, was the Merriam-Webster Word of the Year for 2019.) Like singular you, the singular they takes a plural verb. So when the context requires it, they/them/their/theirs, like you/your/yours (long used as both singular and plural forms), can be used to refer to one person (e.g., “They have a degree in molecular biology”; “Their favorite color is blue.”) In general, a person’s stated preference for a specific pronoun should be respected.
When interviewing a subject, always ask them their preferred pronouns.
Another exception to avoid using only men/women or male/female (a binary reference) would be in a reference where these terms are necessary for accuracy, as in the case of a study that included men and women.
Gender terms to avoid
- hermaphrodite (preferred: intersex)
- normal/norm (to refer to people who are not transgender, gender-fluid, non-binary)
- sex change (preferred: sex reassignment, gender transition)
- sexual preference
- transvestite (preferred: cross-dresser)
LGBTQIA+ is an abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning, intersex, asexual/aromantic/agender. The “plus” represents other sexual identities. The “A” in LGBTQIA+ may also refer to ally or allied, meaning someone who does not identify as LGBTQIA+ but supports those who do.
LGBTQIA+ (all capital letters with no spaces or periods) is our preferred use.
Use as an adjective (it must be modified by a noun such as artist, activist, etc.).
On first reference, depending on your audience, explain what LGBTQIA+ stands for and use the abbreviation on subsequent mentions.
Cisgender (cis) is a term used by some to describe people who are not transgender. Cis– is a Latin prefix meaning “on the same side as” and is therefore an antonym of trans-. The word cisgender distinguishes without assuming that cisgender is the neutral or normal state.
The word queer has historically been considered a slur, so you may want to avoid use of the word, limiting it to quotes, names of organizations, and instances when an individual indicates he/she/they would prefer it used in reference to themselves.
That said, queer has been reclaimed by some LGBTIA+ people to describe themselves; however, it is not a universally accepted term, even within the LGBTIA+ community.
Queer can also be used in academic circles related to domain (e.g., queer studies) and/or a range of post-structuralist theories that deal with the construction or reconstruction of sexuality and/or gender identity known as queer theory. Other variants, such as quare theory, consider the intersection of identities, such as race. In your writing, avoid comparisons that reflect a heteronormative bias—in other words, heterosexual/cisgender as “normal” or the norm.
Note: When interviewing someone or otherwise referring to a source or subject in your writing, ask the individual how they prefer to be identified (e.g., lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual, intersex, etc.) related to their gender and/or sexual identity. This may include identifications that are not common or specific. Ask, too, if there are any terms they do not want used in reference to them and in what cases.
Note on the use of transsexual and transgender
The GLAAD Media Reference Guide notes that transgender is preferred to transsexual and the latter should not be used. That said, Dr. Benny LeMaster, a former lecturer in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Communication Studies at CSU Long Beach, notes that “transsexual is an acceptable term for folks who are transsexual. Some folks who seek to alter their body in some way may use transsexual and NOT transgender precisely because the politics that bar folks from altering their bodies on their terms. Transgender is the larger term while transsexual is the more local term for a smaller group of folks who fall under the larger transgender umbrella but who may not call themselves transgender.” When in doubt, try to find out how someone prefers to be referenced.
Reminders for reporting on and writing about LGBTQIA+ individuals, communities, or subjects
- If you’re covering research or new data, don’t refer to the findings as relevant to “the gay or LGBTQIA+ community” if the information only relates to, say, gay men.
- Don’t conflate sex and gender; they aren’t the same thing.
- When talking about marriage, make sure you’re using the person’s preferred term(s), whether partner, spouse, wife, husband, or something else. Gay marriage and same-sex marriage are acceptable terms.
- Pay close attention to how the person you’re talking to narrates their own story and follow their lead and cues when you write. If the person uses terms you don’t know, ask them to explain each so you’re sure to use it correctly. If there is particular sensitivity on the part of a source and/or topic, build in time for the source(s) to review their quotes for accuracy.
Reasons to ask—and reasons to refrain from asking—about sexual and gender identity
When is it appropriate to ask a subject to disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity for a story? Is it ever?
If a source shares a transgender or gender-nonconforming identity, it is best practice to ask for preferred pronouns. Be cautious that a person’s pronouns may not correspond with the gender that may be associated with their name or appearance. Also, do not assume transgender status or include it if it is not germane to the story.
Note that sex, gender, and sexual orientation are not synonymous.
Reasons to ask
- If it adds context to the story. Are you interviewing the person specifically because they are a member of the LGBTQIA+ community? If so, ask to confirm and ask how they identify.
- If it is central to the story. Would it seem out of place if you didn’t mention it? For example, if you’re covering same-sex marriage, anti-discrimination laws, and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” it’s relevant to include that the person is or could be directly affected by the events.
- If it isn’t central to the story, what is your motivation for asking? Are you trying to add diversity to your story or highlight how different populations might be affected differently?
Reasons to avoid asking or telling
- If it would cause harm to the subject.
- If it’s merely for prurient reasons or to sensationalize the story.
- Would you include the information if the subject were heterosexual? If yes, include it for an LGBTQIA+ person. If not, think about why you want to include it; it must be relevant.
LGBTQIA+: terms to avoid
- closeted (preferred: not out)
- gay community (preferred: LGBTQIA+ community)
- homosexual (preferred: gay or lesbian)
- lesbian woman (this is redundant; just say lesbian)
- MTF or FTM (preferred: male-to-female/female-to-male transition unless an individual identifies themselves this way)
- openly gay (preferred: out)
- queer (see discussion above)
- sexual preference (preferred: sexual orientation)
- trans (abbreviation for someone who is transgender; transgender people identify as a gender that is different from the sex they were assigned at birth. A transgender woman was assigned to be male at birth; a transgender man was assigned to be female at birth.)
- transvestite (preferred: cross-dresser; cross-dressing does not necessarily indicate someone is gay or transgender)
When writing about anyone with a disability—whether physical, intellectual, or psychological/emotional—always strive to adopt “people first” language. This means using words that put the person at the center of a description rather than a label, their status, or focusing on what the individual cannot do.
For example, you would refer to a “graduate student with epilepsy” but not a “graduate student who’s an epileptic.” As with any other area of sensitivity like this, please ask the individual their preferred terms and use this language as much as possible. If you are interviewing someone with a disability, whether visible or not, be sure that they are aware of how much detail and information you will be sharing about their disability and/or ask them to review the content before it is published.
If the disability is not part of the story and there isn’t a need to include it, don’t.
Don’t refer to someone who does not have a disability as able-bodied. You can simply say they do not have a disability (or, if necessary, use non-disabled) when it’s necessary to distinguish that someone doesn’t have a disability. Avoid using the term normal.
Avoid sensationalizing a disability by using phrases like, but not limited to, afflicted with, suffers from, or victim of.
Use accessible when describing a space, location, or event that is modified to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
People with disabilities are typically not suffering from a disease or illness, so they should not be referred to as patients unless in a healthcare setting.
To show inclusiveness and sensitivity to students, you may want to refer to them as students with a verified disability.
Terms to avoid when writing about people with disabilities
- able-bodied or normal when referring to a person who does not have a disability
- afflicted with
- autistic (preferred: on the autism spectrum)
- confined to a wheelchair or wheelchair-bound: describes a person only in relation to a piece of equipment designed to liberate rather than confine (preferred: uses a wheelchair, wheelchair user)
- crazy, insane, nuts, psycho
- deaf and dumb/deaf-mute
- defect, birth defect, defective
- demented, senile
- the disabled (preferred: people with disabilities or disabled people)
- epileptic fit (preferred: use the term “seizure” when referring to the brief manifestation of symptoms common among those with epilepsy)
- loony, loony bin, lunatic
- mentally retarded: this is an antiquated and offensive term. Always try to specify the type of disability being referenced (otherwise, the following are preferred: mental disability, intellectual disability, developmental disability).
- midget: although preferred terms vary by person and community, according to the Little People of America website, many people who experience dwarfism prefer the term little person. LPA defines dwarfism as “a medical or genetic condition that usually results in an adult height of 4 feet 10 inches (145 cm) or shorter, among both men and women.” Unless physical stature is of relevance in a conversation, simply using a person’s name is appropriate.
- paraplegic (preferred: a person with paraplegia)
- psychotic (preferred: the person has a psychotic condition or psychosis)
- quadriplegic (preferred: a person with quadriplegia)
- schizophrenic (preferred: a person with schizophrenia, a person diagnosed with schizophrenia)
- spastic, a spaz
- stricken with, suffers from, victim of
*Given the complexity and evolving nature of this topic, comprehensively addressing usage questions is impractical. That said, we want to ensure this section is as current, inclusive, and useful as possible. Please send us questions and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org to address during our regularly scheduled updates.
Race and ethnicity are not the same. The US Census Bureau defines race as a person’s self-identification with one or more social groups, which can include white, Black or African American, Asian, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and others.
Federal statistical standards used by the Census and the National Center for Education Statistics conceptualize a person’s ethnicity into one of two categories: Hispanic or Not Hispanic. If a person is Hispanic/Latine, they can self-report/identify as any race.
Federal regulations from 2007 about racial and ethnic data require institutions of higher education to collect and report a single, mutually exclusive major racial/ethnic group for students in federal collections (e.g., IPEDS). A key feature of this is that students who identify as Hispanic are reported as Hispanic, even if they self-identify under one or more racial categories. For clarity and consistency, NAU-published systemwide race/ethnicity data tends to follow the federal standard.
The fastest-growing demographics in the US are “Two or More Races,” the Asian population, and the Hispanic population. By 2044, there is expected to be no race or ethnic group in the US that represents a 50 percent or greater share of the population. In this style guide, we attempt to provide basic guidance on style for:
- African American/Black (the B in Black is capitalized; African American is not hyphenated unless it’s used as an adjective)
- Hispanic/Latine and related terms
- Asian American and Pacific Islanders and related terms (no hyphen)
- Native American and related terms (no hyphen)
- Caucasian/white (the w in white is not capitalized)
General writing guidelines for race and ethnicity
- Avoid stereotypes.
- Place the humanity and leadership of people of color at the center.
- Ensure that headlines, images, captions, and graphics are fair and responsible in their depiction of people of color and coverage of issues.
- Use a multiracial lens and consider all communities of color.
- Use racial and ethnic identification when it is pertinent to a story and use it fairly, identifying white individuals if people of other races/ethnicities are identified.
Quick reference for race and ethnicity
African American, Black
African American and Black are not synonymous. If you are including someone’s race in the content you’re creating, be sure it is necessary to mention it and ask the person how they prefer to be identified. A person may identify as Afro-Caribbean, for instance, or Haitian American or Jamaican American.
When African American functions as a noun or an adjective phrase following what it modifies, no hyphen is needed. When using the term as a phrasal adjective preceding the noun it modifies (e.g., an African-American woman), be sure to include a hyphen. Never use the word colored or Negro as a descriptor. Afro American is an archaic descriptor and should not be used.
In the body of a piece, it is preferred to use Black people and not Blacks to refer to a group.
Asian, Asian American
When writing about someone or a group of this background, ask the person their preferred term. Specifically, if it makes more sense to refer to a specific background—e.g., Japanese, Korean, Thai, Chinese, Indonesian, Filipino—use that term rather than a collective noun.
Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA): This term is preferred to Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) or Asian American Pacific Americans. The latter is not incorrect, but for consistency’s sake, we recommend the preferred use.
South Asian: This collective term refers to people from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Desi American is a term commonly used by people from India, but not by all South Asians. Check with the source/individual to confirm how they prefer to be identified and ensure that identifying their race/ethnicity is essential to the content you’re creating.
American Indian, Alaska Native, Hawaiian Native, Indigenous, Native American
The most accurate terms to use to refer to those who inhabited land that became the United States (or, previously, territories) are American Indian and Native American. Indigenous should be used as a general term for Native Peoples across the globe.
Capitalize these terms:
- American Indian
- Indian Country
- Indigenous Peoples
- First Nations (refers to Indigenous people from Canada)
- Native American
Only use these terms when describing groups of two or more individuals of different tribal affiliations.
Always ask how groups/individuals prefer to be identified. When writing about individuals, always refer to them by their tribally specific nation.
Indigenous people may also offer cultural identifiers such as clan systems. If they want to offer their clan relationships, it should be incorporated to some degree.
The term Indian Country is generally understood to describe reservations and areas with American Indian populations.
Alaska Native Villages is an umbrella term that includes, but is not limited to, Inupiat, Yupik, Tlingit, Tsimshian, and Aleut. They are culturally distinct and should not be grouped with American Indian or Native American. As with American Indian, only use in reference to a group of two or more people with differing Tribal affiliations. Otherwise, use the subject’s specific Tribal affiliation and always verify each Tribal name with an ONAI representative.
Alaska Native is the federal designation for this demographic. Note: Not all people from Hawai‘i are Hawaiian. Hawaiian is identified as a race and is counted in the census. Also note: When writing Hawai‘i, use the ’okina mark between the i’s.
American Indians and Alaska Natives are members of distinct sovereign nations constructed in and through treaties, executive orders, and the Constitution.
American Indian and Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian cultural identification is place-based, diverse, and informed by the practices of their culture (e.g., language, singing, dancing, ceremonies). A major distinction between these groups is that Native Hawaiians are not federally recognized.
Culture is not synonymous with tribal communities or individuals. The term culture should be avoided when referencing Native American groups because of the issue of “othering.” There are more than 570 federally recognized tribes, and when American Indian culture is used to describe more than one group, it is a form of “othering.” If a story is being written and culture is included, the identifying culture should be listed:
Appropriate: This student is dedicated to preserving White Mountain Apache culture.
Inappropriate: This student is dedicated to preserving Native American culture.
Bottom line: Identifiers in Indigenous communities are specific, and it is up to us to uphold these underrepresented narratives.
Hapa: Once considered derogatory, hapa comes from the Hawaiian phrase hapa haole, meaning “half white/foreigner.” It now describes anyone whose heritage is white plus another racial or ethnic group, especially Asian and Pacific Islanders. The term is now considered by many to be one of positive self-identification.
Hispanic, Latine, Latinx, Latin@, Chicano/a
Federal policy defines Hispanic as an ethnicity, not a race. Hispanic/Latine people can be of any race.
While it is common to see Hispanic, Latino/a, and Latine used interchangeably when referring to individuals, they are not synonymous. Hispanic generally refers to people with origins in Spanish-speaking countries. Latine generally refers to people with origins in Latin America and the Caribbean. Most Hispanic individuals also identify as Latino/a, and vice versa. Generally, people from Brazil or Haiti do not identify as Hispanic but may identify as Latino/a.
Latine, Latiné, and Latinx are emerging, ungendered terms that are appropriate for use within the university community.
Latina/Latinas is appropriate for individuals who identify as woman/women.
Chicano/a is a term that refers to Americans of Mexican ancestry.
Chicano/a, Latine, and Latino/a are more commonly used in academia than by the general public.
Be sure to ask the individual/group how they prefer to be identified.
Terms to avoid when writing about race and ethnicity
Do not use the term colored person/people. Use a broader term, like people of color, which refers to any person who is not white, especially in the US. The acronym BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) may be used only after being spelled out on first use.
In general, no racial or ethnic slur should ever be included in what you write. You may consider an exception if your content is about this slur (as in a research study examining use of the word) or, possibly, if it is essential to your piece and is used in quotes. In this case, ensure that its use is absolutely necessary and that your source has approved the attribution of the slur(s) to them.
It’s worth mentioning that the Department of Homeland Security considers the use of ethnic slurs a form of harassment on the basis of race and/or national origin in some circumstances.
The students served by NAU include many who come from low-income backgrounds. Many students struggle not only to pay for their college education but to provide for basic needs like housing and food. That said, it’s important not to equate being low-income with struggling for basic needs. They are not synonymous.
The ways in which we talk and write about students who are low-income should convey compassion, inclusion, and sensitivity. Writing about poverty and those who do not have the money they need is, of course, a sensitive matter and sometimes a source of shame and stigma for the student.
Participation in programs targeted to students who are low-income or whose parents are low-income (e.g., Pell-eligible or receiving Pell) are common proxies for low-income. Proxies are used primarily because measures related to students’ economic well-being are often unobserved in the higher education context, as parental income/wealth is highly confidential.
While these categorizations or proxies can be helpful in demonstrating context, they are only proxies and not equivalent to low-income. For example, only US citizens and Green Card holders are Pell-eligible, so this would not refer to undocumented students.
There are several terms that are often used in the context of discussing students of low-income background. These include:
- historically underrepresented groups: those diverse groups, identities, and communities that are historically underrepresented, underserved, or marginalized at institutions of higher education.
- immigrant: similar to reporting about a person’s race, mentioning that a person is a first-generation immigrant could be used to provide readers or viewers with background information, but the relevance of using the term should be made apparent in the story. Also, the status of undocumented students should only be discussed if it’s relevant to the story AND the subject agrees to it and understands the danger of potential deportation.
- socioeconomic status (SES): generally refers to a combination of factors related to a student’s social class. In the context of students, this typically includes family income, parental education (e.g., first-generation status), and parental occupation.
- underserved: those who do not receive equitable resources to other students in the academic pipeline. Typically, these groups of students include low-income, racial/ethnic minorities (people of color or students of color is the preferred use, not minorities), first-generation students, and students with disabilities, among others.
- Races and ethnicities that are included: African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic/Latine, and Native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander.
- Historically underserved students are defined as low-income students, those who are first in their families to attend college, and students of color.
- First-generation college student is used to refer to students who are the first in their family to graduate from college.
General guidelines for writing about and for students from low-income backgrounds
- Choose food security over food insecurity (a deficit-focused approach). A student may be facing food security issues or concerns. Hunger is a symptom of very low food security, but hunger and hungry should be used carefully.
- Choose people-first language, i.e., people experiencing homelessness. Consider that both housing and food security issues fall on a spectrum, with homelessness being the most urgent, acute end of the housing security spectrum.
- Dealing with a lack of money, food, and/or reliable housing is a source of shame for some, but not all, students. Approach the topic with sensitivity and ask exactly what the student feels comfortable sharing in any content that will be made public, including photographs. Encourage a framework that helps students understand that they are not alone. Describe the issue as a national housing and financial aid crisis that pushes many students into these circumstances, rather than a personal problem or one that blames the student.
- While the term underserved is commonly used to mean those who are low-income and historically underrepresented, you may want to consider using the term underresourced. Don’t use high-need or high-need schools.
- Be aware of encouraging any perception that students are “working the system” to get free food or other assistance.
- Don’t use poor, impoverished, underprivileged, or disadvantaged to describe students who are low-income.
- Listen carefully to how a student or another source tells their story and use similar or the same language. Watch for assumptions and biases in your writing about the reasons for their income status, stereotypes, etc.
Senior citizen has become a catchall term for the country’s older population, but many find it off-putting. Technically, you can refer to someone as a senior citizen if they are 65 or older. Similarly, the elderly can imply feebleness. When referring to members of this group, try to find a label that more specifically describes the population or person you have in mind: people over 65, retirees, octogenarians. More generically, the term older people, although vague, implies nothing negative. Of course, avoid disparaging terms, as well as informal ones, such as old folks, seniors, and golden agers. More importantly, avoid language that stereotypes older people as mentally or physically enfeebled. Write about someone’s years of experience as opposed to years of age.
Unacceptable ways to write about age
- Frank Martinez, a senior citizen, continues to maintain a vigorous practice despite his age.
- Happy Acres is a residential community for the elderly.
- The still-spry aerialist debuted a new act.
Acceptable ways to write about age
- Frank Martinez, now 70 years old, continues to maintain a vigorous practice.
- Happy Acres is a residential community for people aged 65 and older.
- The aerialist, who has 30 years of experience, debuted a new act.
Terms and phrases to avoid when writing about age
- of a certain age
- elderly (unless the subject is at least 80)
- over the hill
- senior citizen
When describing someone’s physical appearance, avoid using subjective adjectives (e.g., pretty, heavy, obese, overweight, burly, slender, etc.).
The purpose of land acknowledgement statements is to show respect for Indigenous peoples and recognize their enduring relationship to the land. Practicing acknowledgement can raise awareness about histories that are often suppressed or forgotten.
NAU’s land acknowledgement statement was developed and approved by colleagues in the Office of Native American Initiatives:
Northern Arizona University sits at the base of the San Francisco Peaks, on homelands sacred to Native Americans throughout the region. We honor their past, present, and future generations, who have lived here for millennia and will forever call this place home.
It is an important sign of understanding and respect to use this exact statement whenever and wherever possible in NAU print and digital materials.