Below is Kutztown University's land acknowledgement. At the bottom of the page can be found resources and information about scholarship opportunities for Native students from the Native Forward Scholars Fund.
Land Acknowledgement Statement
Kutztown University resides on Lenapehoking (leh-NA-pe-ho-king), the traditional home of the Lenni Lenape. We acknowledge this territory once also served as a hunting ground, trade exchange point, and migration route for the Munsee (MUHN-see), Susquehannock (suh-skwuh-HA-naak), Haudenosaunee (ho-den-no-SHOW-nee), and many other Indigenous peoples. We recognize, support, and advocate for Indigenous peoples who live here now, and for those who were forcibly removed. We acknowledge, honor, and respect the past, present, and future of the diverse Indigenous peoples connected to this land, whose presence continues in the region due to their resilience in the face of colonization. This acknowledgement aligns with our University’s commitment to cultivating a diverse and inclusive community.
Importance of Land Acknowledgements
Land acknowledgements recognize the stolen Indigenous territory on which an institution resides and the settler colonial history of the location. Land is fundamental to Indigenous communities. It was forcibly taken from them, and many Indigenous peoples were displaced to unfamiliar territories. Land acknowledgements — often recited at the beginning of a meeting, public ceremony, or gathering—are a starting point to raise awareness of Indigenous presence in communities. Building relationships with Indigenous communities and supporting their needs moves beyond land acknowledgements to further cultivate a diverse and inclusive community. At KU, input was collected from members of the community, especially those of Indigenous communities, to write this land acknowledgement. Thank you to the Widoktadwen Center for Native Knowledge in Reading, PA, and its Director, Amanda Funk, for graciously providing time and expertise.
Guidelines for Use of Land Acknowledgements
Land acknowledgements should be used in a respectful and appropriate way. They can be recited at the beginning of a meeting, public ceremony, or gathering of people. At KU, each department or event hosts can decide when it is appropriate to use.
Institutions writing and speaking land acknowledgements should take the proper time to conduct research on and acknowledge the Indigenous communities that lived in a certain location in the past, those who might have been displaced from that location, and those who currently live in the location. Take care to find accurate information. At KU, input from students, staff, and faculty were gathered. We then consulted with the Widoktadwen Center for Native Knowledge, Reading, PA.
Language should be clear. Words such as “settler colonialism”, “stolen land”, can and should be used to accurately describe the forceful taking of much Indigenous land. Specific tribes and nations should be mentioned, along with treaty names and other important historical and current political aspects.
Phonetic spelling of Indigenous tribes and nations can be included to assist speakers with pronunciation.
Example: Widoktadwen (we-dock-TODD-win) Center for Native Knowledge, Reading, PA
Beyond Land Acknowledgements -- Meaningful Action
Land acknowledgements are important to recognize rightful Indigenous ownership of territory. But there are ways to move beyond statements to concrete action. A land acknowledgement should be written with the intent to ask afterwards, “what does this compel me to do?”1
These are a few examples of direct, concrete actions you can take to build relationships with your local Indigenous communities and work to cultivate a more diverse environment. Relationships are fundamental to the work of diversity and inclusion, and thus take worthwhile time and effort.
- If you have space available to rent, allow Indigenous people and/or communities to reserve the space more easily. (eg: waive reservation fee, simplify process)
- Recruit Indigenous people to senior-level positions as well as entry level positions in your organization.
- When planning events, collaborate with Indigenous communities from the beginning.
- Make a plan to donate monthly in the form of a land tax in your local Indigenous community.
- At a university, provide scholarships or free tuition to students from local Indigenous communities.
- At a university, develop recruitment strategies to enroll more Indigenous students.
1. Adrienne Keene, “Moving Beyond Land Acknowledgements & Token Representations,” November 11, 2021, Zoom webinar, 1:11:37.
“About Us.” Native Governance Center. Accessed February 28, 2022, https://nativegov.org/about/.
Čhantémaza, Monica Siems McKay. “Where We Stand: The University of Minnesota and Dakhóta Treaty Lands.” Open Rivers: Rethinking Water, Place, & Community 17 (2020). https://editions.lib.umn.edu/openrivers/article/where-we-stand/#_edn1
Keene, Adrienne. “Moving Beyond Land Acknowledgements & Token Representations.” November 11, 2021. Zoom webinar, 1:11:37.
“Land Acknowledgements.” Michigan State University American Indian and Indigenous Studies, accessed February 28, 2022. https://aiis.msu.edu/land/
“Land Acknowledgements.” Princeton University, accessed February 1, 2022. https://inclusive.princeton.edu/initiatives/building-community/native-american-indigenous-inclusion/land-acknowledgements
Powys White, Kyle. “White Allies, Let’s Be Honest About Decolonization.” Yes Magazine, April 3, 2018. https://www.yesmagazine.org/issue/decolonize/2018/04/03/white-allies-lets-be-honest-about-decolonization
“Resources Page.” Native Movement. Accessed February 28, 2022. https://www.nativemovement.org/resources
“Resources/Territory Acknowledgement.” Native Land Digital, accessed February 28, 2022. https://native-land.ca/resources/territory-acknowledgement/
Shaginoff, Melissa. “You Are On Indigenous Land: Resources & Considerations for Recognizing Indigenous People Through Land Acknowledgement.” Melissa Shaginoff.com, accessed March 1, 2022. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5ec1cdeddc6caa06d37305bb/t/60114d52ce4b836d31f9d841/1624653673861/MShaginoff+Land+Acknowledgement+Guide+21.pdf
“Welcome to Widoktadwen.” Widoktadwen Center for Native Knowledge. Accessed February 25, 2022. https://widoktadwen.org/
“Wokini Initiative.” South Dakota State University. Accessed March 1, 2022. https://www.sdstate.edu/wokini.
Scholarship information: native forward scholarship fund Opportunities
For over 50 years, Native Forward Scholars Fund (formerly known as American Indian Graduate Center [AIGC]) has been creating and fostering partnerships with government agencies, corporate, tribal, and private donors. Through the support of their partners Native Forward proudly offers over twenty funding opportunities to American Indian and Alaskan Native students. They offer opportunities to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students ranging from $250.00 up to $30,000.00 per year. All of their opportunities can be found at https://www.nativeforward.org/AIGCS.org.
Need Based Opportunities
Scholarships that are awarded based off your financial need. Native Forward determines this from your Financial Need Form (FNF) that your college or university fills out and sends back on your behalf.
Merit Based Opportunities
Scholarships that are awarded based on your talents, leadership, community services, honors, awards, and not directly tied to your financial need. Native Forward still requires an FNF form to be submitted.
Have more questions? Visit the Student Resource Center at https://www.nativeforward.org/native-forward-student-center/.