What is a Land Acknowledgement?
A Land Acknowledgement is a formal statement that recognizes the unique and enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories.
Why do we recognize land?
To recognize the land is an expression of gratitude and appreciation to those whose territory you reside on and a way of honoring the Indigenous people who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial. It is important to understand the long-standing history that has brought you to reside on the land, and to seek to understand your place within that history. Land acknowledgments do not exist in a past tense, or historical context: colonialism is a current ongoing process, and we need to build our mindfulness of our present participation. It is also worth noting that acknowledging the land is Indigenous protocol.
Preamble of UC Merced's Diversity Statement
Local indigenous people, including the Yokuts and Miwuk who understand the earth as a place for everyone, first inhabited the land where UC Merced is located. When we address diversity on this campus, we do so boldly, daring to look forward and backward, imagining diversity’s demand for the 21st century and the importance of diversity in addressing past wrongs, reaffirming humanity, and ensuring a reconciliatory path of redress for the future. The most prominent path on our campus is called Scholars Lane. By day, you can see, hear and witness the embodiment of our diversity through campus community members making their way across campus framed by the slopes and peaks of the Sierra Nevada.
How to use this statement?
Campus Stakeholders are encouraged to use the suggested acknowledgment version listed below and that the acknowledgement take place at the beginning of the event:
UC Merced Land Acknowledgement Sample Statement:
“We pause to acknowledge all local indigenous peoples, including the Yokuts and Miwuk, who inhabited this land. We embrace their continued connection to this region and thank them for allowing us to live, work, learn, and collaborate on their traditional homeland. Let us now take a moment of silence to pay respect to their elders and to all Yokuts and Miwuk people, past and present.”