As we gather for the ASHE 2024 Conference, it is important to acknowledge that we are currently on the traditional ancestral homeland of the Dakhóta Oyáte (Dakota people), the original inhabitants and stewards of the land and waterways of Minneapolis, MN.
Map of Native American Land Cessions and Reservations to 1858. In "Territorial Imperative: How Minnesota Became the 32nd State," by Rhoda Gilman (Making Minnesota Territory 1849–1858; Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1999).
The cultural history of the Dakota people begins at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, a sacred place they call Bdóte, and is shared with the Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe) people, whose homelands extend northward from the city.
The land of the Dakota and Ojibwe people that now comprises the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area was unfairly ceded through the major land cessions that coincided with the collapse of the fur trade. The Treaties of 1837 and 1851 with the Dakota people and the treaties of 1837 and 1855 with the Ojibwe people delivered unfulfilled promises of future payments of cash, goods, timber and land rights in exchange for the majority of land ownership in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area.
In addition to the Dakota and Ojibwe people, the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area is home to one of the largest and most tribally diverse urban American Indian populations, numbering well over 35,000. The size of the Twin Cities’ indigenous population boomed as a result of the 1956 Indian Relocation Act which defunded many reservation services and paid for relocation expenses to the cities in an attempt to assimilate the country’s indigenous peoples.
Minnesota comes from the Dakota name for the area, Mni Sota Makoce — ‘the land where the waters reflect the skies.” Today, Minnesota shares geography with eleven Tribal Nations, in addition to the Ho-Chunk, Cheyenne, Oto, Iowa, Hidatsa, Arikara, A’aninin, Cree, Blackfeet, Assiniboine, and the Sac and Fox tribes all who also acknowledge Minnesota as important to their tribal histories.
We ask conference attendees to take time to reflect and acknowledge the land and resources we are using to sustain ourselves during the conference. We also ask attendees to devote time to learning about the histories and the experiences of the Dakota people in the Minneapolis area. We acknowledge the painful history of genocide and settler colonialism that continues to impact Native and Indigenous communities today and how settler colonial logics are presently embedded in educational structures, policies, curriculum and procedures.
By offering this land acknowledgement, we affirm tribal sovereignty. We hold ourselves accountable as postsecondary educators to recognize and counter the historical and contemporary injustices, violence and inequity that continue to impact Indigenous people today. We commit ourselves to support movements of Indigenous sovereignty through mutually beneficial partnerships, research, policies, and practices in the field of higher education and beyond.