Journey to Wellness in Indian Country: adding the action step to land acknowledgments
"What's the next step toward justice?'
We collectively acknowledge that the University of Minnesota Duluth is located on the traditional, ancestral, and contemporary lands of Indigenous people. The University resides on land that was cared for and called home by the Ojibwe people, before them the Dakota and Northern Cheyenne people, and other Native peoples from time immemorial. Ceded by the Ojibwe in an 1854 treaty, this land holds great historical, spiritual, and personal significance for its original stewards, the Native nations and peoples of this region. We recognize and continually support and advocate for the sovereignty of the Native nations in this territory and beyond. By offering this land acknowledgment, we affirm tribal sovereignty and will work to hold the University of Minnesota Duluth accountable to American Indian peoples and nations.University of MN Duluth, adopted June 4, 2019
Are land acknowledgements, earnest statements acknowledging that activities are taking place, or institutions, businesses and even homes are built, on land previously owned by Indigenous peoples performative efforts at "wokeness," or a legitimate effort by non-Indigenous people to support tribal sovereignty and address equity issues?
Karen Diver is the Senior Advisor to the President of the University of Minnesota on Native American Affairs, and she says they can be both.
But the best next step could be rewriting those land acknowledgements to include what Universities, businesses and even individuals are doing to make reparation.
Karen Diver says each of the University of Minnesota campuses have different land acknowledgments based on their location and the history of the campus.
The University of Minnesota Morris, for example, was built as a Native boarding school, and its land acknowledgment includes that history.
If you or your organization want to write a land acknowledgement, Diver recommends doing your homework (the Native Governance Center is a good place to start), and then look here for some suggestions on how to craft it.