UMD Recognizes Tribal Land It Resides On With Acknowledgment Statement

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: October 22, 2019 10:35 PM

UMD is acknowledging that the land it sits on, is sacred and has a rich history to the Native American community. It is tribal land that was passed down to the United States many years ago.


UMD did this by hosting a land acknowledgement event Tuesday on campus. A land acknowledgment is a formal recognition of the relationship that exists between American Indians and their territories. UMD invited tribal members, staff and students to learn more about the land and the acknowledgement statement. A smudging and drumming ceremony kicked off the event. 

Hosted at Kirby Ballroom, Chancellor Lendly Black and Native American members spoke on the significance of this. There was never a formal land acknowledgement put into writing at UMD. Acknowledging the land is rooted in indigenous protocol practices.

"Today we acknowledge the Indian Tribes. Thanking them for the ability for UMD to occupy these lands and also acknowledge the land, water, and spirits that dwell here," said Tadd Johnson, a UMD professor of American Indian Studies, and member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Bois Forte Band.

The acknowledgement indicates there have always been native people inhabiting the area and centers on the 1854 treaty, when the land UMD is on, was ceded to the United States by the Ojibwe.

"Acknowledging that there is history here and people before what this building is now, knowing that it existed helps you know you should preserve that for future generations," said Alexandera Houchin, a UMD student and Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa tribal member.

Those who spoke at the event said this process was long overdue. Student and community member input helped in getting the acknowledgement forward. in the statement, UMD recognizes it was land cared for and home of the Ogibwe people and other Native people before them.

The event ended with a lunch and lesson on the treaty from UMD professors of American Indian Studies.

The land acknowledgment states:

“We collectively acknowledge that the University of Minnesota Duluth is located on the traditional, ancestral, and contemporary lands of Indigenous people. The University resides on land that was cared for and called home by the Ojibwe people, before them the Dakota and Northern Cheyenne people, and other Native peoples from time immemorial. Ceded by the Ojibwe in an 1854 treaty, this land holds great historical, spiritual, and personal significance for its original stewards, the Native nations and peoples of this region. We recognize and continually support and advocate for the sovereignty of the Native nations in this territory and beyond. By offering this land acknowledgment, we affirm tribal sovereignty and will work to hold the University of Minnesota Duluth accountable to American Indian peoples and nations."

To learn more about the land acknowledgment, click here.


Alejandra Palacios

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