Land Acknowledgement: A Trend in Higher Education and Nonprofit Organizations

An emerging trend among institutions and organizations is the formal recognition of the traditional custodial relationship between native people and the land. According to Friedler (2018), land acknowledgment can also raise awareness about histories that are often suppressed or forgotten.” Formal land acknowledgment may be as limited as recognition of a historical presence on the land or a more a clear rejection terra nullius and the Doctrine of Discovery. All land acknowledgment statements, however, share an expression of respect for indigenous peoples, recognize their enduring relationship to the land, and raise awareness about marginalized aspects of histories.

The land acknowledgment movement is particularly strong in several former British colonies. In his piece in the New Yorker on September 7, 2017, Stephen Marche said, “you know a phenomenon has really arrived in Canada when it involves hockey.” Marche continues, “both the Winnipeg Jets and the Edmonton Oilers began acknowledging traditional lands in their announcements before all home games last season.” According to the New York Times (Burke, 2018), the movement has spread across Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, and is moving across the United States. In fact, Dr. Amy Farrell-Morneau of Lakehead University in Ontario pointed out “nearly every university in Canada has a land acknowledgment statement (Farrell-Morneau, 2018). The movement is not limited to higher education but is also trending in nonprofits throughout Canada and beyond.

In the United States, the movement has spread throughout the art community (Burke, 2018). The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Abrons Art Center, Performance Space (PS122), Danspace Project, and Gibney of Tribeca all have a land acknowledgment policy. Some forms of land acknowledgment may be signage in lobbies or a written statement in organizational brochures or event programs. Theatrical performances may begin with a brief verbal land acknowledgment. For example, the standard preshow curtain speech at PS122 in New York City states the theater “is situated on the Lenape island of Manhahtaan (Mannahatta) and more broadly in Lenapehoking, the Lenape homeland” (Burke, 2018).

The movement has spread to colleges and universities across the United States. Small colleges like Emerson College[1] in Boston, Goshen College in Indiana,[2] Washington University in St. Louis,[3] and Seattle Central College[4] have all adopted land acknowledgment statements. Larger institutions have departmental or institutional land acknowledgment statements as well including Columbia University,[5] Harvard University,[6] Michigan State University,[7] New York University,[8] Northwestern University,[9] Stanford University,[10] Syracuse University,[11] University of Illinois,[12] and the University of Virginia.[13] In Massachusetts, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Smith College, Amherst College, Hampshire College, and Mount Holyoke College issued a joint statement regarding land acknowledgment.[14] The land acknowledgment movement is spreading coast to coast, to institutions and organizations, big and small, public and private.

In Colorado, there are four institutions leading the way in land acknowledgment. In December 2018, Colorado State University issued an institutional land acknowledgment statement.[15] At the University of Denver Morgridge College of Education Higher Education Department, every academic convocation begins, “by first acknowledging that the University of Denver sits on Cheyenne and Arapaho land, who are the original Stewards of this land.” DU goes further and states, “We also wish to acknowledge all other Indigenous Tribes and Nations who call Colorado home. It is because of their sacrifices and hardships that we are able to be here to learn and share knowledge to advance educational equity” (DU, 2018). The University of Colorado Department of Ethnic Studies has a land acknowledgment statement embedded on the department webpages[16] and the recent graduation ceremonies at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design included a brief land acknowledgment that RMCAD sits on land that the Ute, Arapaho, and Cheyenne once roamed.

In addition to CSU, CU, DU, and RMCAD, there are 15 other four-year institutions of high learning in Colorado. All fifteen were contacted in December 2018 and asked if the institution had a land acknowledgment statement and, if not, if the institution was considering a statement (institutions who did not respond were also re-contacted in January 2019).

Peter Han of the Office of the President at the Colorado School of Mines responded that, at this time, Mines does not have a land acknowledgment policy. Carol Osborn, Executive Assistant to the President of Adams State University similarly responded that ASU does not have a current policy. Ronald Shape, President of National American University personally responded and, after emailing further with Dr. Shape’s staff, it was determined that there was not a current policy, but that the institution was interested gathering more information regarding the land acknowledgment trend in higher education. Western University’s Bryan Boyle indicated that Western does not have a land acknowledgment policy. The University of Northern Colorado also recently responded, stating that the question would be forwarded to the appropriate office and to expect a response in the near future.

Two state institutions did not respond to the media request for this article were Mesa University and Metro State University who were all contacted on December 21, 2018. In addition, eight private colleges and universities were also contacted but did not respond: Lance Oversole of Colorado Christian University (12/11/18), Colorado Technical University (12/22/18), Sam Fleury of Columbia College (12/21/18), Ms. Shaults of DeVry University (12/22/18), Ms. Kochel and Ms. Shively of Johnson & Wales University (12/21/18), Naropa University (12/21/18), Nazarene Bible College (12/21/18), and Jennifer Forker of Regis University (12/11/18).

Nonetheless, Marche (2007) concludes, “acknowledgment is spreading. No level of government has mandated the practice; it is spreading of its own accord. There is no single acknowledgment. There are many acknowledgments, depending on where you are in the country…The acknowledgment forces individuals and institutions to ask a basic, nightmarish question: Whose land are we on?”

Crafting a land acknowledgment statement is not difficult. Amnesty International (2017) has a simple three-step guide to land acknowledgment: (1) Name which Indigenous territories you are currently on; (2) Explain why you are acknowledging the land; (3) Address the relevance of Indigenous rights to the subject matter of your event or meeting or to your activist work in general. The nongovernmental USDAC (2018) has a similar three-step process of Identify-Articulate-Deliver.

Melissa Jacob, Ohio State University’s Office of Student Life Multicultural Center, pointed out that the practice of a formal welcome and territory acknowledgment is an old tradition Native American culture, particularly when hosting guests and when traveling to neighboring tribal communities. Jacob (2018) also stated that land acknowledgment is not an expensive or intrusive policy. While land acknowledgments might seem like lip-service or national back-patting to critics, Flournoy (2016) pointed out that the effort is worth it considering the legacy of marginalized history and rise of the rhetoric of exclusion. We all ought to acknowledge our history, as we live in the present and look forward to the future.

Bibliography

Amnesty International. (2017). “Activism Skills: Land and Territory Acknowledgement.” Retrieved from https://www.amnesty.ca/blog/activism-skills-land-and-territory-acknowledgement

Burke, S. (2018). “On This Land: Dance Presenters Honor Manhattan’s First Inhabitants.” The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/01/arts/dance/indigenous-land-performing-arts-theaters.html

Farrell-Morneau, A. (2018). “Land Acknowledgment.” Retrieved from https://teachingcommons.lakeheadu.ca/land-acknowledgement

Flounay, A. (2016).  “What Does It Mean to Acknowledge the Past?” Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/31/opinion/sunday/what-does-it-mean-to-acknowledge-the-past.html

Friedler, D. (2018). “Indigenous Land Acknowledgement, Explained.” Teen Vogue. Retrieved from https://www.teenvogue.com/story/indigenous-land-acknowledgement-explained

Jacob, M.B. (2018). “Centering the Land: The Importance of Acknowledging Indigenous Land and Lifeways.” The 2018 ACPA Convention. Retrieved from http://convention.myacpa.org/houston2018/centering-land-importance/

Marche, S. (2017). “Canada’s Impossible Acknowledgment.” The New Yorker. Retrieved from https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/canadas-impossible-acknowledgment

United States Department of Arts and Culture. (2018). “Honor Native Land: A Guide and Call to Acknowledgment.” Retrieved from https://usdac.us/nativeland/

University of Denver Morgridge College of Education. (2018). “Land Acknowledgment.” Retrieved from http://morgridge.du.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Land-Acknowledgement.pdf

[1] https://www.emerson.edu/intercultural-student-affairs/cultural-holidays-heritage-celebrations/honoring-native-land-massachusett-indigenous-peoples

[2] https://www.goshen.edu/about/diversity/land-acknowledgement/

[3] https://brownschool.wustl.edu/News/Pages/Brown-School-Authors-Encourage-Native-Land-Acknowledgment.aspx

[4] https://newscenter.seattlecentral.edu/2018/11/02/college-institutes-land-acknowledgement-statement

[5] https://universitylife.columbia.edu/blog/office-university-life-blog/2016/10/NAC-on-Lenape

[6] https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/social-and-behavioral-sciences/2018/05/24/acknowledgment-of-native-land-and-peoples/

[7] http://aisp.msu.edu/about/land/

[8] https://as.nyu.edu/museumstudies/people/full-time-faculty/faculty-projects.html

[9] https://www.northwestern.edu/native-american-and-indigenous-peoples/about/Land%20Acknowledgement.html

[10] https://nacc.stanford.edu/about-us

[11] http://religion.syr.edu/about-us/land-acknowledgement.html

[12] https://chancellor.illinois.edu/land_acknowledgement.html

[13] https://kluge-ruhe.org/about/acknowledging-indigenous-owners/

[14] https://www.fivecolleges.edu/natam/about-kwintekw

[15] https://president.colostate.edu/speeches-and-writing/land-acknowledgment-at-csu-december-11-2018/

[16] https://www.colorado.edu/ethnicstudies/

How do we decide: Culture, Rational Thought or Irrational Thought?

Here are a few other optional links on Rational Choice if you’re interested:

And: Rational Actor Model Theory​​​​

A ‘Wall-Rushed’ Idea

As REM sang in 1987, “This one goes out to the one I love This one goes out to the one I’ve left behind…”

Obama

“President and Mrs. Obama built/has a ten foot Wall around their D.C. mansion/compound,” he wrote then. “I agree, totally necessary for their safety and security. The U.S. needs the same thing, slightly larger version!” (December 30, 2018)

First of all, Trump wanted a wall across the southern border of the United States, not around every individual home, but, whatever…

This week, at the first cabinet meeting of the New Year, there were a couple of other questionable comments about walls.

Vatican

“Look, look, when they say the wall’s immoral well then you — you’ve got to do something about the Vatican because the Vatican has the biggest wall of them all.” (January 2, 2019)

That’s a repeat of when Trump aide Dan Scavino tweeted in 2016 that the Pope was a hypocrite on immigration because Vatican City was surrounded by massive walls. As CNN’s Daniel Burke wrote at the time: “Yes, the Vatican does have walls, and some are quite large. But anyone can stroll through the Pope’s front yard — St. Peter’s Square — at nearly any time.”

“Look at all of the countries that have walls and they work 100%.” (January 2, 2019)

So, I took Trump up on this statement and here’s a look at walls, past and present.

There’s the Great Wall of China, Hadrian’s Wall + Antoine’s Wall, Wall Street, The Berlin Wall, the DMZ, the Israeli-Palestinian Barrier….

References

https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/03/politics/donald-trump-cabinet-meeting/index.html

https://people.com/politics/donald-trump-obama-home-wall/

https://www.npr.org/2018/09/11/646801504/palestinian-orchestra-finds-way-into-jerusalem-to-perform-beethovens-9th-symphon

Twitter Discussion That Ends in Me Getting Blocked By User

27 Dec 2018 @realDonaldTrump: This isn’t about the Wall, everybody knows that a Wall will work perfectly (In Israel the Wall works 99.9%). This is only about the Dems not letting Donald Trump & the Republicans have a win. They may have the 10 Senate votes, but we have the issue, Border Security. 2020!

Me: You mean where they have shoot to kill orders?

 : Every time you shoot its shoot to stop the threat. This usually winds up being a kill. Don’t kid yourself.

Me: exactly

 Ok, let’s get something clear, border agents as well as IDF are in a very dangerous job. Ask them. It’s not political to them it’s daily reality. You want them protected? They both need a nice big wall.

Me: I didn’t realize you’ve been to the border; I’ve worked on the border and talked to many agents, I think I know a thing or two about it:

: Now I’m surprised, you use phrases like shoot to kill but your involved in border security? You seem to be in Favor of illegal migration with all the risks it poses to both illegals and border agents yet your involved in border security? This doesn’t make sense.

Me: No, I haven’t worked in border security, I’ve worked along the border. I ran immersion workshops to bring border agents, migrant service organizations, and others together to discuss border security and safety.

Me: Most of the people on the American side of the border want high tech not low tech.

Me: Not all agents agree either way mind you, but most people like the president who talk about a low-tech physical Wall haven’t been to the border and don’t understand the regional economy or maintenance costs and such. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/01/27/border-sheriffs-president-trumps-border-wall-not-silver-bullet/97142608/

Me: For example there’s a strip of fence near El Paso where there is a physical barrier but there’s less high tech; I have personally witnessed people just going under the fence through a storm drain into the United States. We need high tech and increased people + foreign aid

I’m in favor of using all tools necessary to stop illegal border crossing. It doesn’t sound like you are. The border agents questioned in the survey below want a border wall as well as high tech tools.

The border patrols union surveyed them and found they were in favor of the wall Something tells me you didn’t ask a lot of agents about the wall. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/apr/2/border-patrol-agents-back-trump-wall-survey-finds/

Me: That feels like an unfair dig. If you aren’t going to take me at my word, there’s little reason to go back and forth. It’s also unclear whether you read the article you posted; it says agents want a wall as part of a system in strategic locations.

Me: If you think I’m in favor of illegal migration then either I’m not expressing myself clearly or you’re projecting what you think I believe on to me. I am opposed to illegal migration. But I’ve been to the border, I’ve interviewed agents, and I would say 70% are against the Wall.

Yes I did read it and I agree with the findings. I think a wall at strategic locations as well as other barriers be they electronic or physical will work. I wasn’t saying you were being dishonest, just that you didn’t ask that many agents. The survey was of 600

Me: The section of the border I worked along is primarily rural, and those agents wanted hi tech when I interviewed them, but clearly in hi traffic areas a physical wall makes more sense. There’s no one size fits all.

Another Caravan is coming

By the way another illegal just killed another cop in California. The cop was Ronil Sigh. A legal immigrant. https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/27/us/suspect-california-police-officer-killed/index.html

I know one thing for sure, border agents are sick of drug traffickers and human traffickers having it so easy. Ever seen a rape tree while on the border? It’s time to use every means necessary. That includes building walls.

Me: I believe in using wall at strategic locations like the border agents survey said, but not building a total wall just for the sake of building a wall. In rural areas, hi tech and manpower are more important as the border sheriffs and others have said.

:  Exactly. The fight now is purely political. The democrats won’t allow any funding of a wall at all. Placing politics above national security. I guarantee the next president will do nothing. Especially if it’s a democrat. It needs to happen now.

Me: I’m glad you agree that the fight is purely political and that the supposition of a “wall” is relative, I just wish Trump understood what you understand: that as the agents’ survey states of “adding a ‘wall system’ in strategic locations” but not necessarily everywhere.

Me: If only we could get the partisans to understand that the wall is a local issue. While the national sheriffs association wants a Trump wall, local sheriffs say otherwise 

The wall is a national security issue.

Me: Hahahah… yup, how’s that demand for a northern border wall coming? Oh, wait, its because the southern undocumented immigrants are brown and the northern undocumented immigrants are white, right? But you wouldn’t say that, would you…

Are you fucking kidding me? Your calling me a racist? I’ve NEVER said a damn thing that’s racist! I’m in favor of border security at both borders! Take it back fucking NOW!

Me: Why is it a wall in the south and “border security” in the north?

Calling someone racist nowadays can lose them their jobs, reputation, friends. That’s why leftists call people racist every chance they get. It ends the debate when they know they aren’t winning. I don’t want to lose my job or reputation so I’m out.

_______________________________________________________________

For the record, I didn’t get an opportunity to clarify, I was blocked before I received the notification/message. This is a person that I’ve debated on Twitter for 6 months or so and who uses the words ‘Democrat,’ ‘Hillary,’ ‘liberal,’ leftist,’ dossier,’ and ‘FBI’ as if the terms are swear words. In other threads, my patriotism is questioned as is my commitment to stop drug dealers and rape. Even in this thread as you can see I was essentially called a liar. Perhaps I went too far at the end, perhaps not. However, the ‘take my ball and go home mentality’ with the ‘getting the last word’ is frustrating when people want to make declarative statements but become offended when the declarative statements are made to or at their expense.

2kLra6aH_400x400

Christmas Eve Alone with Friends & Foes

(Photo Credit Mario Tama | Getty Images)

Two hundred and thirty-eight years ago, the French army was barracked in Providence, Rhode Island. On Christmas Eve 1780, the people of Providence celebrated with the Catholic French-speaking soldiers bunking at University Hall at Brown University, singing carols and lighting candles.

http://www.quahog.org/factsfolklore/index.php?id=159

One hundred and four years ago, enemy soldiers stared across the cold battlefield of northern France and, out of respect for each other, a Christmas truce sporadically broke out along the Western Front… French, German, and British soldiers crossed trenches to exchange seasonal greetings and talk. In some areas, men from both sides ventured into no man’s land on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to mingle and exchange food and souvenirs. There were joint burial ceremonies and prisoner swaps, while several meetings ended in carol-singing. Men played games of football with one another…

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/england/10455611/England-v-Germany-when-rivals-staged-beautiful-game-on-the-Somme.html

In World War II, specifically, on December 24, 1941, at precisely 4:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, as dusk gathered and the temperature dropped, the red-coated Marine Band on the White House lawn struck up “Joy to the World,” accompanying choirs from area churches. Thousands had gathered in the fading light. After some further carols, the band began “Hail to the Chief.” As the sunset gun at nearby Fort Myer boomed, the president and Mrs. Roosevelt appeared on the South Portico with a group of guests, the Prime Minister Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

http://www.historynet.com/christmas-in-wartime.htm

These days, instead of honoring allies like playing “Joy to the World” to the Prime Minister of Britain, or singing carols to French soldiers away from home to help America, no, instead of celebrating friends or even seeking a temporary white-flag with enemies like the 1914 Christmas Truce, as I’m recording this right now at approximately 6pm Eastern, the President of the United States has spent Christmas Eve 2018 sending out more than 10 tweets already today attacking Democrats, Republican Senator Bob Corker, Trump’s own former anti-terrorism envoy Brett McGurk… and complaining about US allies overseas… that’s right, rather than support foreign allies or seek a detente to the domestic tensions at home, President Trump shows he’s more Grinch than Gingrich, forcing a government shutdown for the holidays after the House and Senate had already passed a bi-partisan bill to avoid this, the third shutdown of the year. Oh, you know, the shutdown that, on December 11, 2018, Trump proudly declared I’ll tell you what: I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck. I will take the mantle… I will be the one to shut it down — I’m not going to blame you for it.”

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/24/politics/trump-christmas-chaos/index.html

Weird how now Trump and his few allies left, like Mark Meadows are trying to blame the Democrats in the Senate for blocking the appropriations bill. Apparently, the approximately 3 million Federal civil servants aren’t as important to the Republicans as Neil Gorsuch was, otherwise the filibuster rule would be removed entirely, right?

So here we are. The second year of the Trump Administration. The filibuster rule that was in place for 100 years has been removed by Republican Senators to seat a conservative justice. The US has broken its treaty responsibility under the Paris Agreement. The US has threatened its own allies in NATO. The US was withdrawn from the Iran Framework. The US has announced its withdrawal from NAFTA and renegotiated the agreement. The US has withdrawn from a nuclear weapons deal with Russia negotiated by Ronald Reagan. And, this fall, the US has done nothing as a Saudi resident-alien living in the United States is murdered on diplomatic grounds by the goons of Mohammed bin Salaman. Most recently, Trump talks with Turkish dictator Erdogan and then announces the withdrawal of US forces from Syria. Cui bono? Who benefits? Dictator Erdogan, Dictator Al-Assad, Dictator Putin, and -ironically- even the Iranian backed terrorist group Hezbollah… and who suffers? The stateless Kurds. The same Kurds that were betrayed by the US in ‘91, the same Kurds not given enough support in IS’ Northern Iraq offensive in 6/2014 & now Trump’s betrayal in 12/2018…

Why does Trump coordinate more with Dictator Orban, Dictator Duarte, Dictator Putin, Dictator MBS, and Dictator Erdogan than Angela Merkel, Theresa May,  Emmanuel Macron, Justin Trudeau, or Shinzō Abe?

Why does Trump exude admiration for Dictator Xi when he removes term limits, builts re-education camps for the Uighers? Is it because Xi has recognized more than 125 trademarks for Trump and his families businesses in just these last two years?

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-40283830

So this Christmas Eve? December 24, 2018, when President Trump just tweeted out “I am all alone (poor me) in the White House”?

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/24/politics/trump-christmas-chaos/index.html

I truly believe this is a man who has built his own prison. Attacking the Bush Family, attacking John McCain, attacking the Federal Judiciary, attacking Jeff Sessions, the DOJ and the FBI, pretending George Papadopoulos, Rick Gates, and Paul Manafort are nobodies, attacking Michael Cohen, building an administration with the likes of Sean Spicer, Michael Flynn, Tom Price, Steve Bannon, Anthony Scaramucci, Omarosa Newman, Gary Cohn, Ronny Jackson, Ryan Zilke,

Forcing out HR MacMaster, Rex Tillerson, David Shulkin, and firing Jim Mathis for announcing his retirement….

And let’s not forget that Trump now has had three chiefs of staff in less than 2 years…

And this is the guy who complains, on Christmas Eve, that he’s all alone….

 

 

 

Cui Bono?

The classical Roman intellectual, Cicero, credited Lucius Cassius Longinus Ravilla with establishing the measurement of Cui bono? That is, ‘who benefits.’

U.S. Lt. General Michael Flynn

Ambushed? Weird, the judge in the case asked that question and Flynn’s own lawyers said no on December 18, 2018 (https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-wishes-flynn-good-luck-ahead-sentencing/story?id=59881667). Who benefits by continuing the argument and perpetuating the belief that Flynn was ambushed?

American politics has become a real-world charade, inspired by Richard Condon’s 1959  Manchurian Candidate.

Syria

Donald J. Trump ‏| @realDonaldTrump  | December 19, 2018

“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.”

Only, we haven’t. James Stavridis: “We put out the active flames, but you still see smoldering little piles all around. You don’t just turn around and walk away from it because you know it’ll reflash. It’ll start up again. It’s a big mistake to walk away” (https://www.npr.org/2018/12/20/678577663/trump-says-isis-is-defeated-so-u-s-troops-will-leave-syria). Who benefits by continuing the argument and perpetuating the belief that ISIS had not been defeated?

Lindsey Graham, who has been described as one of Trump’s closest supporters in the US Senate said, “ I have not found one person, national security-wise, who believes it’s a good idea to remove the 2,200 troops, which was a small footprint, that was a bulwark against Iran expansion and insurance policy against the rise of ISIS. There was a widespread belief that ISIS has not been defeated. They’ve been hurt.”

Mattis, in fact, has resigned over this decision (https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/20/politics/donald-trump-jim-mattis-resignation/index.html)

Whatismore, Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin has gone on the record as saying “The fact that the US has decided to withdraw its troops is right” (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/12/syria-putin-welcomes-trump-decision-pull-troops-181220113100797.html)

The Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad welcomed the decision by Donald Trump

US ally France, with troops in northern Syria, was blindsided by the decision, disagrees that ISIS is defeated, and promises to stay (https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/syria/france-says-troops-to-remain-in-syria-isis-not-defeated-1.6765709)

The decision, however, was praised by Turkey https://www.rferl.org/a/trump-syria-troop-pullout-islamic-state-russia-turkey-iran/29666375.html

In fact, the announcement was criticized by not only France but also Britain and Germany, who have all released statements saying that much remains to be done in Syria.

Doesn’t this sound as familiar as it sounds strange? France, Germany and the UK wrong, Turkey, Russia, and Syria right?

Republicans Lindsey Graham and the current US Secretary of Defense say wrong, but Trump says right?

Cui bono?

Afghanistan

And, the latest news? Today, Trump has announced troop withdrawals from Afghanistan as well.