The University of Connecticut’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion now encourages all university events to begin with an acknowledgment of the lasting relationship between Native Americans and the land that is now the university’s campuses.
Elsie González, assistant director of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, said it is important to acknowledge the history of the land the university is built on. González said the relationship is important to recognize because it has not faded.
“A Land Acknowledgement is a formal statement that recognizes and respects Native peoples as traditional stewards of lands,” González said. “The statement highlights the enduring relationship between Native peoples and their traditional territories.”
The Land Acknowledgement statement, established last April, recognizes the various peoples who previously resided upon the land that now hosts UConn’s campuses. In particular, the statement refers to the Mohegan, Mashantucket Pequot, Eastern Pequot, Schaghticoke, Golden Hill Paugussett, Nipmuc and Lenape Peoples.
“We would like to begin by acknowledging that the land on which we gather is the territory of the Mohegan, Mashantucket Pequot, Eastern Pequot, Schaghticoke, Golden Hill Paugussett and Nipmuc Peoples, who have stewarded this land throughout the generations,” the statement reads. “We thank them for their strength and resilience in protecting this land, and aspire to uphold our responsibilities according to their example.”
The Land Acknowledgement statement can be used at any university event as a way to begin the ceremony. González said this is true at every UConn campus, because all Connecticut land was stewarded by Native Americans.
“At the University of Connecticut, the Land Acknowledgement Statement can be read aloud or distributed by anyone who wishes to use it — at public or private events — on University property,” González said. “All land in the State of Connecticut was once Native territory, so the statement may be used on any UConn campus.”
Thomas Alvarez is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.