The Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative at Brown (NAISI) has created the following land acknowledgment statement. For information about the Initiative's programs, please visit their website.
In our efforts to create a meaningful acknowledgment of the Indigenous peoples and their connections to the land that Brown University occupies, NAISI and others at the University are following a protocol to carefully consider what this acknowledgment should be according to the Indigenous peoples connected to this place. We will work in consultation with local tribes to determine what statement, if any, and actions can best acknowledge tribal connections to this land that was occupied long before the University or State of Rhode Island existed.
Addressing this important effort in full depth and according respect to all who are invested in this work will take time, deliberation, and care; it may take a number of months, and perhaps years, to complete. We are committed to engaging in a complete dialogue with local tribal peoples to ensure that the process is comprehensive.
Creating a meaningful land acknowledgment requires following Indigenous protocols to accomplish more than a statement regarding which tribe or tribes are connected to the lands occupied by Brown University today. Our actions and statements will be guided by dialogue with local tribes and will seek to address our history and interactions with Indigenous peoples of the area. Each University needs to examine and understand the different and complicated legacies we have and consider how to address these, following input and guidance of local tribes.
Including a land acknowledgment at the beginning of courses or campus events has emerged as a practice outside of Indigenous spaces only recently. Before doing this, ask yourself: Why do you wish to have a land acknowledgment? Why is this important to you? What is the purpose of a land acknowledgment? In what ways can you move beyond an acknowledgment to meaningful action?