In recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Native American Heritage Month, the University of Utah is formally launching its Indigenous Land Acknowledgement on Oct.12.
As many colleges and departments across campus began crafting their own land acknowledgements on websites and during events, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dan Reed, chartered a committee to develop a statement that could be adopted by all at the U. For about a year, this committee engaged in meaningful conversations around what should be included in a university-wide Indigenous Land Acknowledgement.
“As the flagship institution of higher education in Utah, we certainly have a role to play in honoring and recognizing the many contributions of Indigenous peoples’ in our state,” said Mary Ann Villarreal, vice president for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and co-chair of the Native American Land Use Committee. “We hope this statement will be shared and recited often as a reminder of our gratitude and commitment to serving and partnering with Native Nations.”
The U operates on the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Shoshone, Paiute, Goshute and Ute Tribes, and Utah is home to eight distinct tribal nations.
“Our land acknowledgement is an important gesture of recognition and respect to the Indigenous peoples’ of Utah,” said Elizabeth Kronk Warner, dean of the S.J. Quinney College of Law and co-chair of the committee. “We are grateful to be able to gather on this land and for the valuable contributions of our Native students, staff and faculty to the living, working, and learning environment at the U.”
Committee members, many of whom are tribal members, created a long and short version of the land acknowledgement so it may be posted, distributed and recited by campus partners as appropriate.
Indigenous Land Acknowledgement Statement
The University of Utah has both historical and contemporary relationships with Indigenous peoples. Given that the Salt Lake Valley has always been a gathering place for Indigenous peoples, we acknowledge that this land, which is named for the Ute Tribe, is the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Shoshone, Paiute, Goshute, and Ute Tribes and is a crossroad for Indigenous peoples. The University of Utah recognizes the enduring relationships between many Indigenous peoples and their traditional homelands. We are grateful for the territory upon which we gather today; we respect Utah’s Indigenous peoples, the original stewards of this land; and we value the sovereign relationships that exist between tribal governments, state governments, and the federal government. Today, approximately 60,000 American Indian and Alaskan Native peoples live in Utah. As a state institution, the University of Utah is committed to serving Native communities throughout Utah in partnership with Native Nations and our Urban Indian communities through research, education, and community outreach activities.