“We want to formally and with great respect acknowledge that we are on the traditional lands of the Yokuts Nation. Our campus, Stanislaus State, is built on the unceded ancestral lands of these indigenous tribes. Thank you for letting us honor them and give our thanks to their ancestors and descendants for their constant and careful stewardship of this land.”
What is a Land Acknowledgement?
A Land Acknowledgment is a formal statement that recognizes the unique and enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories. (Laurier Students’ Public Interest Research Group, Ontario, Canada)
Naming is an exercise in power. Who gets the right to name or be named? Whose stories are honored in a name? Whose are erased? Acknowledgment of traditional land is a public statement of the name of the traditional Native inhabitants of a place. It honors their historic relationship with the land.
Acknowledgment by itself is a small gesture. It becomes meaningful when coupled with authentic relationships and informed action. But this beginning can be an opening to greater public consciousness of Native sovereignty and cultural rights, a step toward equitable relationship and reconciliation. Join us in adopting, calling for, and spreading this practice.
Why do we recognize the land?
To recognize the land is an expression of gratitude and appreciation to those whose territory you reside on, and a way of honoring the Indigenous people who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial. It is important to understand the long-standing history that has brought you to reside on the land, and to seek to understand your place within that history. Land acknowledgments do not exist in a past tense, or historical context: colonialism is a current ongoing process, and we need to build our mindfulness of our present participation. It is also worth noting that acknowledging the land is Indigenous protocol.
How to Use
Campus Stakeholders are encouraged to use the land acknowledgement listed above. The acknowledgement should take place at the beginning of the event. Individuals are also encouraged to learn more, build relationships and take action.
Sources and Resources
Canadian Association of University Teachers. “Acknowledging Traditional Territory.”
“Historic Princeton.” Town of Princeton, NJ.
“Honor Native Land: A Guide & Call To Acknowledgement.” U.S. Department of Arts & Culture.
“Land Acknowledgement.” Native Land.
Michigan State University Land Acknowledgement
Northwestern University Land Acknowledgement
Laurier Students’ Public Interest Research Group, Ontario, Canada