What Is a Land Acknowledgement?
This is an indigenous Land Acknowledgement, which is a statement that recognizes the indigenous peoples who lived in the area where an institution has been built and currently operates. A land acknowledgement is about respecting and recognizing indigenous peoples and their relationships to land. It is spoken as a verbal statement given at the beginning of programs or events and may be embedded on a plaque and added to an institution’s website.
MU Land Acknowledgement
We would like to recognize the Native peoples of the lower Susquehanna River basin, those known and those unknown to us, who have stewarded the land, upon which Millersville University sits, for thousands of years. We acknowledge that the land on which we gather, study, and work is the ancestral land of the Conestogas, Susquehannocks, Shawnee, and others. One group, the Shenks Ferry people, had a village adjacent to the campus. We pay our respects to the traditional occupants and caretakers of this land.
Did You Know?
In the United States today, there are 574 federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes in 36 states, and there are an additional 63 state-recognized tribes across 11 states—Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia. Pennsylvania has no federally recognized tribes nor state recognized tribes. There are approximately 7 million Native Americans today in the U.S.
There is not a universally accepted term for the indigenous inhabitants of the United States. The terms Native American and Indian may be used interchangeably, but of the two, Indian is the preferred term, even though it is not a Native term as it was misapplied by Columbus. In response to the rise of the Indian rights movement, led by AIM (American Indian Movement) in the 1960s and 1970s, the U.S. government proposed the term Native American to underscore that they were the original people on this continent, the indigenous peoples. But this term was never widely accepted by American Indians who prefer to be referred to by their specific group’s name. The label, Native American, was further rejected when it was used to divert federal funding, originally intended for American Indians, to Native Hawaiians—who are Polynesian and not American Indians—but who are Native Americans. It also should be noted that Native Arctic peoples are biologically distinct from the Indians living to their south; they migrated to North America later than the Indians.
Contact Our Cultural Experts
For more information, feel free to contact:
Professor of Anthropology
Associate Professor, History Department