We would like to acknowledge the land that The Ohio State University occupies is the ancestral and contemporary territory of the Shawnee, Potawatomi, Delaware, Miami, Peoria, Seneca, Wyandotte, Ojibwe and many other Indigenous peoples. Specifically, the university resides on land ceded in the 1795 Treaty of Greeneville and the forced removal of tribes through the Indian Removal Act of 1830. As a land grant institution, we want to honor the resiliency of these tribal nations and recognize the historical contexts that has and continues to affect the Indigenous peoples of this land.
What is a Land Acknowledgement and Its Purpose?
A land acknowledgement recognizes and respects the relationship that exists between Indigenous peoples and their ancestral and contemporary territories. Additionally, a land acknowledgement provides opportunity to explore the current impact of colonization and systemic oppression on Indigenous peoples. Land acknowledgements do not exist in past tense or a historical context as colonialism is a current ongoing process.
While Land Acknowledgements are vital in creating visibility, for these statements to have impact they must include action and a dedication to supporting, uplifting and empowering all Indigenous peoples. We ask that you take the time to learn more about the histories and cultures of Native American and Indigenous peoples. By doing so you participate in the social change that will support a strong sense of belonging and inclusion for all Buckeyes.
Putting a Land Acknowledgement into Action
There are a number of ways that one can move beyond simply reciting a land acknowledgement and put their words into action. Suggested action steps include:
Education: Learn more about the histories and cultures of Native American and Indigenous peoples, specifically the tribal nations that are connected to the land you reside upon. There are a number of books, films and podcasts that are written and created by Indigenous people. Also, Ohio State offers a minor in American Indian Studies, which is a great opportunity to take courses focused on Native American and Indigenous cultures and history. Through Native American and Indigenous Student Initiatives, there are a number of programs and events throughout the year including Orange Shirt Day, Indigenous Peoples Day, Native American Heritage Month and Alternative Thanksgiving.
Relationship Building: Building relationships is a very important aspect of standing in solidarity with Native American and Indigenous peoples. A great place to start on campus is visiting the Student Life Center for Belonging and Social Change and connecting with three of the Ohio State Native American and Indigenous student organizations including the Native American and Indigenous Peoples Cohort (NAIPC), the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) and the Indigenous Community of Graduate and Professional Students (ICGPS).
There are currently zero federally recognized Native American and Indigenous tribes in the State of Ohio, but a number of tribal nations in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Dakota and Minnesota have ancestral connections to Ohio land. This list of tribal nations is documented in the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Indian Land Cessions 1784-1894 database.
For more information, contact Madison Eagle.
*Statement written by Dr. Melissa Beard Jacob (Sault St. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians) 2018. Updated and Edited by Madison Eagle (Cherokee and Shawnee) 2022.