Declaration of land recognition | USU
“Recognition itself is a small gesture. It becomes meaningful when paired with authentic relationships and informed action. But that beginning can be an opening to greater public awareness of Indigenous sovereignty and cultural rights, a step toward an equitable relationship and reconciliation. (USDAC 2017, 3)
A land acknowledgment is an important first step that provides a long overdue appreciation for the land we occupy and its people. We recommend that you research, contextualize, and consider the purpose of an acknowledgment when engaging in this practice. Offering land recognition serves as a call to action for everyone at Southern Utah University. We encourage departments, offices and individuals to engage with these words and use these statements in a meaningful way. When opening events large and small, facilitators should understand that acknowledging that the land is an Indigenous protocol, opening up a space of reverence and respect and incorporating this practice should reflect a true commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Here’s what you can do to begin the ongoing, ongoing process of acting in solidarity with Indigenous folx (please note this is not an exhaustive list):
- Find out if there are any active Indigenous groups or organizations in or near your community. Learn about their work and see how you can support them.
- Connect with members of the local Indigenous community to discern how best to introduce the practice of recognition and explore how this might lead to further dialogue and collaboration.
- Look around and ask yourself: are there Native Americans attending your events? In your team? On your board? If not, what would it take to start building those relationships? How to move from recognition to relationship? If your role is to program at a cultural or educational institution, how can you ensure that the programming itself represents an engagement with Indigenous voices, stories and perspectives?
Adapted from UNLV’s Beyond a Land Acknowledgment