Providing A Land Acknowledgement

We are all grounded by diverse lands, each with their own names, histories, and relationships. Regardless of our location, we must reflect on the lands where we live and work as well as on the relationships that we have or aspire to build with them. Such reflection can provide a vital first step to the work of decolonization, work that must go hand in hand with the dismantling of entrenched racial inequities.

When developing your own land acknowledgment statement to preface a presentation or webinar, know that there is not one way wrong or right way to do it. While your stated land acknowledgment may be brief, the reflection and intention came before it is what is most important. Some possible ways to incorporate a brief land acknowledgment in your presentation could include:

  • Incorporate your land acknowledgment into your personal introduction, e.g., “My name is [Full name] and I am a [position] at [institution name], which sits on the ancestral lands of the [local Indigenous nation(s)].”
  • Create a slide (perhaps with a photo) that speaks to the history, original name, or another aspect of the land that you are joining from.
  • Recognize the original people(s) of the land that you’re on and speak to your own relationship of the land that you’re on, including how you may benefit from it.
  • Look for other examples that resonate with you.​
Remember that developing a land acknowledgment should be only part of a larger process of working toward decolonization. To continue this work, please consider: 
  • Bringing the practice of “land reflection” to your colleagues and other organizations you may work with.
  • Building relationships with community members who have experience in land acknowledgment. The building process should be reciprocal, not extractive. After building relationships, offer a stipend(s) and/or other forms of reciprocation to community members who participate in land acknowledgment practices.

Conference Land Acknowledgment

We encourage conference presenters to do their own learning about the land we'll gather on and where their research is conducted. For those who need the resource, you may read the first and last paragraphs of this Land Acknowledgment during your session.

As we gather for the ASHE 2023 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.

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.  

Land Acknowledgment Expectations for Virtual Conference Day and Virtual Poster Presenters

We encourage members and invited speakers to share brief remarks grounded by their own respective locations to begin their presentations. We hope that the ASHE membership will welcome this opportunity to share the labor that is too-often solely shouldered by the Indigenous members of our community. While the actual content of a land acknowledgment may be relatively brief, what is equally important is the work that goes on behind the scenes--the processes of research, learning, and reflection. For additional resources, insight, and guidance on Land Acknowledgment, see which was drafted by the ASHE Land Acknowledgment Working Group.


Examples Land Acknowledgments: 


From the University of Maryland, College Park:

We are standing on the ancestral lands of the Piscataway People, who were among the first in the Western Hemisphere to encounter European colonists. We pay respects to their elders past and present. Please take a moment to consider the many legacies of violence, displacement, migration, and settlement that bring us together here today.


From the NCORE Conference:

This land on which I / we inhabit is physically situated in the original ancestral homelands of the << LOCAL TRIBE NAME(S) >>. We pay respect to the << TRIBE NAME(S) >> peoples – past, present, and future – and their continuing presence in the homeland and throughout their historical diaspora. 

One resource to identify the indigenous tribes and peoples of your area is