“When we talk about land, land is part of who we are. It’s a mixture of our blood, our past, our current, and our future. We carry our ancestors in us, and they’re around us. As you all do.”
– Mary Lyons (Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe)
Indigenous land acknowledgement is a way for settlers to enter into the process of decolonization. It is an important step to understand the longstanding history that has brought us to the land on which we reside, and to begin to understand our place within that history. Making repatriations for the harm that has been done to our indigenous community, and starting the process of healing, begins with accountability. Our first action is to educate ourselves and our university community.
Though we have developed our own statement of Indigenous land acknowledgement above, our work is not done. The Social Justice Institute continues to do this work and call others to do their own. Acknowledgement statements such as these require deep reflection, a sense of connection to the organization's work, and an understanding of accurate historical details to the extent that they are available to appropriately situate and contextualize the harm inflicted upon Indigenous communities.
Here are a list of helpful resources related to land acknowledgement as we work together to begin this process of healing. We encourage you to utilize them as you develop your own processes.
Native Land Digital: an interactive map to discover and acknowledge the history of the land upon which we reside
Living Treaties, Breathing Research: an article in the Canadian Journal of Women and Law by Aimée Craft
The Red Deal: Indigenous Action to Save Our Earth. Part One: End the Occupation: The Red Nation is a coalition of Native and non-Native activists, educators, students, and community organizers advocating Native liberation. The group formed to address the invisibility and marginalization of Native struggles within mainstream social justice organizing, and to foreground the targeted destruction and violence towards Native life and land.
Time as Kinship: an article by Kyle Whyte, University of Michigan, forthcoming in 2021 in The Cambridge Companion to Environmental Humanities, edited by Jeffrey Cohen (Arizona State University) and Stephanie Foote (West Virginia University): Cambridge University Press.
Land Acknowledgement as an Equity Practice in Higher Education: an article by Dr. Nichole S. Prescott, The University of Texas System
Settler Colonialism, Ecology, and Environmental Injustice: an article in Environment and Society by Dr. Kyle Powys Whyte of the University of Michigan
The Lake Erie Native American Council: Northeast Ohio’s local Indigenous community
Action Required: Using A Land Acknowledgement: a recorded webinar from UC Berkeley’s Native American Staff Council and Office of Native American Student Development
‘Land Acknowledgments’ Are Just Moral Exhibitionism - an article from The Atlantic discussing how land acknowledgements, in and of themselves, are not enough
Institutional Land Acknowledgement Statements and Processes: