In the Shadow of the Sacred: Developing a Lands Statement that Moves Beyond Recognition and Towards Reconciliation
Justin Curtis (Assistant Professor, Chadron State College), Matthew Evertson (Professor, Chadron State College), Shannon Smith (Independent Historian and Executive Director Emeritus, Wyoming Humanities Council), Tishina Mindemann (Instructional Technology and Design Specialist, Chadron State College)
Chadron State College offers many courses and some programs that address the legacy of conflict and abuse in the resettlement of the region. However, CSC does not currently offer any formal acknowledgement or statement of the dispossession of lands and people in the region, or of conflicts past and present worthy of reconciliation. Faculty from Chadron State College will discuss the institution's progress toward creating a land-acknowledgement statement by engaging the many groups in the region impacted by our colonial past and by the present activities of the college. (Moderator Margaret Huettl)
Part of the Reckoning & Reconciliation on the Great Plains summit
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[00:00:04.680]Thank you all for being here today
[00:00:08.430]for this panel is part
[00:00:11.270]of the Reckoning & reconciliation Symposium.
[00:00:15.260]I am Margaret Huettl.
[00:00:17.440]I am Anishinaabe and I'm an assistant professor in history
[00:00:21.960]and Indigenous studies
[00:00:23.620]at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
[00:00:25.350]And I am just helping to facilitate this panel today.
[00:00:31.610]I am going to start by introducing our four panelists
[00:00:35.590]and then I will turn it over to them.
[00:00:38.920]I'm gonna introduce them all to start and then turn it over.
[00:00:42.120]So with us today, we have Dr. Justin Curtis,
[00:00:46.470]who is an assistant professor at Chadron State College
[00:00:50.920]in the social sciences program,
[00:00:52.690]focusing on political science,
[00:00:54.950]US politics, government, and economics,
[00:00:57.850]international politics and civic engagement.
[00:01:00.360]He has also reached searched and written about the history
[00:01:03.540]of the Middle East and is introducing a new course at CSC,
[00:01:08.070]focusing on Islam and politics.
[00:01:13.100]With us also, we have Dr. Matthew Evertson,
[00:01:17.020]also a professor at Chadron State College in English
[00:01:21.000]and the Humanities program focusing on the literature
[00:01:24.960]of the American west, Native American literature,
[00:01:28.110]Great Plains and regional studies
[00:01:30.250]and environmental humanities.
[00:01:32.290]He is also a member of the board of the directors
[00:01:35.920]of the Mari Sandoz Heritage Society.
[00:01:39.830]We also have Shannon Smith,
[00:01:42.280]who is the former executive director
[00:01:44.790]and CEO of Wyoming Humanities,
[00:01:48.150]the state's affiliate of the National Endowment
[00:01:50.750]for the Humanities and a former faculty member
[00:01:53.620]at Oglala Lakota College.
[00:01:56.670]Her company, Smith Story and Consulting LLC supports
[00:02:01.030]public humanities and cultural projects
[00:02:03.390]focusing on American Indian education
[00:02:05.940]and heritage preservation.
[00:02:08.120]And then we also have Tishina Mindemann,
[00:02:12.060]who is an instructional technology and design specialist.
[00:02:16.890]She has a Master's degree in educational technology and is
[00:02:21.010]currently a doctoral student who is earning PhD
[00:02:24.310]in educational leadership.
[00:02:26.620]Her dissertation is about the barriers that administration
[00:02:30.500]face when trying to implement decolonization
[00:02:33.890]in science curriculum.
[00:02:37.310]And with that, I will turn it over
[00:02:40.430]to our first presenter, who I believe is Justin.
[00:02:48.370]Hi everybody. Can you hear me okay?
[00:02:52.700]I'm gonna share screen,
[00:02:57.470]and we'll start the slideshow
[00:02:59.500]if I can get my controls to work.
[00:03:02.960]Okay, so yes, I'm Matt Evertson.
[00:03:06.770]I teach at Chadron State College
[00:03:08.600]and I'm gonna provide a little bit of background.
[00:03:10.950]We've decided in our,
[00:03:12.310]we really wanna be in conversation, obviously.
[00:03:14.810]So we are gonna give about 10 minutes sort of overview
[00:03:18.890]from each of us.
[00:03:19.810]And then, you know, the bulk
[00:03:21.350]of the panel will be discussion, we hope, at the end.
[00:03:24.340]So why this project?
[00:03:26.690]Well, I teach, as Margaret was saying,
[00:03:29.820]I teach in the English department, and I first started
[00:03:34.120]teaching at Chadron State College in 2001
[00:03:37.388]and kind of repurposed
[00:03:39.260]my work in is mostly American literary realism
[00:03:43.423]and started looking into more of the literature of the west
[00:03:45.780]and Native American literature.
[00:03:47.100]And then more recently I've been working a lot
[00:03:49.410]in the environmental space.
[00:03:51.110]And so I attend a lot of conferences obviously,
[00:03:53.990]and have noticed
[00:03:56.150]the ubiquity of the land acknowledgement statements
[00:03:59.490]kind of increasing over the years
[00:04:01.630]and sort of jumping off on a term
[00:04:05.960]we've heard expressed last night and in sessions
[00:04:08.510]this morning and in our work, at times,
[00:04:11.020]I felt discomforted about what I saw as maybe
[00:04:14.870]some performative aspects of that process.
[00:04:17.290]But at the same time,
[00:04:18.700]I always felt like maybe our region should have some sort
[00:04:23.070]of land acknowledgement.
[00:04:24.020]So I've kind of gone back and forth on that.
[00:04:26.270]And I'm also a member
[00:04:27.550]of the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Society,
[00:04:30.650]and put programming on through that institution.
[00:04:34.020]And we have a center on campus devoted to that.
[00:04:37.200]We don't, you know, I've always wondered,
[00:04:38.840]should we be doing a land acknowledgement statement?
[00:04:41.690]And so it's in the back of my mind.
[00:04:43.440]And so I started talking to people about this,
[00:04:45.700]including Shannon on our panel and others.
[00:04:47.530]And, you know, the minute you start thinking about, well,
[00:04:51.080]am I going to gain a land acknowledgement statement?
[00:04:53.690]I want to be honorific.
[00:04:55.290]I want to be doing this work of reconciliation,
[00:04:58.500]but it's probably not on me.
[00:05:01.260]And so I started talking to colleagues
[00:05:03.880]in the various departments
[00:05:06.330]I work with at Chadron State College.
[00:05:08.760]And actually as department chair, two years ago,
[00:05:12.150]I had this listed as a standing item on our agenda.
[00:05:16.880]We just never got to it.
[00:05:18.130]So it was very fortuitous that we saw the call for papers
[00:05:22.630]from the Center for Great Plains Studies for this,
[00:05:24.860]what became the year for Reconciliation and Reckoning,
[00:05:28.490]Reckoning and Reconciliation,
[00:05:30.060]because it served as a catalyst for me to then reach out
[00:05:32.650]to the people you see today and many others.
[00:05:35.160]There are people who have helped on this committee
[00:05:38.630]There are people that are gonna be helping afterwards.
[00:05:41.550]We're starting to become kind of a larger group,
[00:05:44.170]and I really thank the Center for Great Plains Studies
[00:05:46.860]for bringing attention to this issue,
[00:05:48.020]because it really has got the ball rolling
[00:05:50.300]at our institution, I think.
[00:05:52.870]This is the statement,
[00:05:54.150]or this is the proposal that we then sent in
[00:05:56.600]for the call for papers.
[00:05:58.620]And I think it captures, I'm not gonna read it,
[00:06:00.278]but I think it captures the unique situation that we,
[00:06:03.550]or this is my opinion,
[00:06:05.040]the unique situation that we are in here in Western,
[00:06:08.540]far Western blustery Nebraska.
[00:06:11.900]We are in, as the title says the shadow of the sacred.
[00:06:15.290]We're very close to the Black Hills, you know, Paha Sapa,
[00:06:19.090]the sacred land and Crazy Horse Memorial Highway runs
[00:06:23.070]right through Chadron.
[00:06:25.040]In our little statement there,
[00:06:26.660]we recount how there's, you know, a lot of dark history,
[00:06:30.790]a lot of rich culture in this region related
[00:06:33.810]to Indigenous peoples, and kind of a complex region,
[00:06:37.310]maybe a region that doesn't sort of comport or fit
[00:06:40.610]into the model that we see
[00:06:42.374]with the UNL land acknowledgement statement either.
[00:06:45.350]And I'm again, just speaking for myself,
[00:06:48.060]living in Chadron for 20 plus years now,
[00:06:50.370]I feel a little bit more affinity
[00:06:51.870]with Wyoming and Colorado and South Dakota.
[00:06:54.811]How is our region different than the rest of the state,
[00:06:59.420]the government center, maybe the cultural center
[00:07:01.760]is here on the Eastern end of the state.
[00:07:04.570]How does our sort of land acknowledgement statement
[00:07:07.270]fit into that?
[00:07:08.103]And also in that language,
[00:07:09.470]you see that we referenced Mari Sandoz,
[00:07:11.940]who wrote about these issues.
[00:07:13.260]She's very prescient on these ideas,
[00:07:15.210]and I think Shannon's gonna speak to that,
[00:07:17.220]but we also have Fort Robinson,
[00:07:19.030]which is a 30 minute drive from us,
[00:07:21.580]and that's where Crazy Horse was killed.
[00:07:24.080]That's where the Cheyenne outbreak occurred.
[00:07:26.840]There's historical markers, of course.
[00:07:29.190]I think there's been a good job
[00:07:30.870]with that interpretive history,
[00:07:32.020]but we don't seem to do much with it on our own campus
[00:07:35.790]and the faces of the colonizers are an hour drive from us
[00:07:39.730]at Mount Rushmore.
[00:07:40.830]So it just seems like we would be one of these institutions
[00:07:43.510]that would be ripe for this kind of conversation.
[00:07:46.110]It just seems never to happen.
[00:07:49.729]So the rest of this proposal points out that fact
[00:07:53.090]that we have an American Indian studies program.
[00:07:57.160]We have a Native American club on campus.
[00:07:59.930]We have a tribal gathering, usually every year,
[00:08:02.670]the Mari Sandoz Society does a lot of programming
[00:08:05.000]in this arena, but again, no land acknowledgement.
[00:08:08.370]Should we do one?
[00:08:09.620]That's what our committee has sort of been taking up.
[00:08:13.390]So we started meeting last semester around October.
[00:08:18.740]And the first thing we did it was we started reviewing
[00:08:21.580]literature on this subject and putting it
[00:08:23.950]in a shared Google Drive that we've made public
[00:08:26.470]for everybody who wants to sort of join into this effort.
[00:08:29.610]And again, in conversation with some of the things
[00:08:32.400]that have emerged
[00:08:33.290]from the keynote presentation last night,
[00:08:35.490]and what I saw on the earlier panel,
[00:08:37.660]which was quite interesting in food for thought
[00:08:40.230]about land acknowledgement as performance or practices.
[00:08:45.300]I was struck also by the conversation of this being
[00:08:48.700]a land grant institution.
[00:08:50.340]And I think Dr. Curtis is going to discuss
[00:08:53.320]our situation in Chadron, in treaty lands.
[00:08:57.510]And there's this article that is,
[00:09:00.900]if people haven't seen it,
[00:09:02.197]and I thought about bringing up an earlier panel,
[00:09:04.100]but I just wanted to share it here.
[00:09:06.060]The article is "The land grab universities"
[00:09:09.350]by the High Country News.
[00:09:12.220]I'm gonna escape here so I can go back to my slide here.
[00:09:15.180]And I think I have that website queued up.
[00:09:19.640]So if you're not familiar
[00:09:20.790]with this in-depth reporting on this,
[00:09:25.320]it really does track how the Moral Act,
[00:09:27.790]which is a wonderful thing,
[00:09:28.840]I'm very much pro-land grant, pro-universities,
[00:09:34.170]It has a very tangled history with this very issue.
[00:09:38.010]It really sort of shows the complexity of that.
[00:09:40.950]And then the other thing that we started to do
[00:09:43.670]was we were reviewing the pure
[00:09:45.700]and regional institutions with their statements,
[00:09:49.220]or what are they doing in this DEI space that maybe
[00:09:53.500]Chadron State College isn't.
[00:09:55.650]We began categorizing the kind of statements,
[00:09:57.960]positive and negative and harm that can be done
[00:10:00.630]and versus good this can be done.
[00:10:02.030]And I think Justin's gonna talk about that.
[00:10:04.780]We began constructing some graph statements,
[00:10:07.220]but this is an important thing to acknowledge ourselves.
[00:10:10.290]We've had some trouble connecting or getting to the point
[00:10:14.380]where we've had more of a larger conversation
[00:10:16.520]with the impacted communities,
[00:10:17.950]particularly the Indigenous communities.
[00:10:19.940]We did have an information session on campus last week,
[00:10:22.870]but these efforts are ongoing.
[00:10:24.860]And until we can get more of that sort of conversation going
[00:10:28.350]with those groups,
[00:10:29.330]we kind of put our own pause on developing
[00:10:32.010]a specific land acknowledgement statement.
[00:10:34.170]This is kind of the complexity of what we've seen emerging
[00:10:36.870]in our work.
[00:10:37.830]Cart before the horse sort of thing.
[00:10:40.280]This is a listing of the peer institutions that are defined
[00:10:44.900]for us by the coordinating commission in Nebraska.
[00:10:49.480]So this list is chosen because it they're geographically
[00:10:54.180]similar, they're sort of rural and remote institutions.
[00:10:57.470]They have sort of the similar demographics.
[00:10:59.790]They have small student populations,
[00:11:02.750]and you'll notice that at the bottom of that list of 11,
[00:11:06.130]there are three state colleges in Nebraska,
[00:11:08.670]none of us that we're aware of have any sort
[00:11:10.700]of land acknowledgement statement.
[00:11:13.390]Of the remaining eight institutions,
[00:11:15.250]five of them have a land acknowledgement statement.
[00:11:18.640]And we also have been sort of tracking their,
[00:11:21.230]whether they have institutionalized a DEI office
[00:11:25.060]or something like that, not just a committee,
[00:11:26.770]but an office and things like that.
[00:11:29.990]One of the regional institutions, we've looked at like 54
[00:11:33.010]of these statements, kind of from our cohort here,
[00:11:35.720]that's defined for us and our region.
[00:11:38.010]One of them is Black Hill State University in Spearfish.
[00:11:41.540]They don't seem to have a land acknowledgment statement,
[00:11:43.790]but they have a very robust Indian studies program.
[00:11:47.743]And a lot of work has gone in to make that an institution
[00:11:50.390]that recruits and maintains those students.
[00:11:52.960]So it's complicated.
[00:11:55.220]The one on that list that's kind of been interesting
[00:11:57.110]for us to track is the Minot State.
[00:12:00.030]When we were looking at this last semester,
[00:12:02.780]we saw chattering.
[00:12:04.430]I don't know what, how to identify it,
[00:12:05.950]but we saw doing a search of land statements
[00:12:08.980]that their student council
[00:12:10.460]or their student government had been meeting
[00:12:12.720]and discussing this issue.
[00:12:14.350]And then low and behold,
[00:12:15.870]when we got back to check this semester, this spring,
[00:12:19.600]they now have a full fledged land,
[00:12:21.210]and this is one of our peer institution,
[00:12:22.930]one of the one in the group of 11 that we're sort supposed
[00:12:26.700]to be referencing.
[00:12:28.810]And so our proposal and where I'm coming from
[00:12:31.920]as a faculty member here, and just a member of this region,
[00:12:34.870]a community member of this region is if other institutions
[00:12:38.520]are doing this, you know, are we being insensitive?
[00:12:42.750]Are we not being a welcoming campus? Are we ignoring?
[00:12:45.750]So now we're grappling with the issue.
[00:12:48.010]We like how Minot State did this
[00:12:51.740]with the contextual information,
[00:12:55.560]and I don't have an opinion about their statement,
[00:12:57.890]but again, in conversation with the earlier panels
[00:13:00.440]and with what was discussed last night,
[00:13:02.580]their statement is a bit more upbeat.
[00:13:05.680]And, but they have lots
[00:13:08.080]of interesting contextual information
[00:13:11.030]and this use of cultural consultants is
[00:13:14.490]perhaps a model that we're going to try and follow as well.
[00:13:17.380]The other acknowledgement statement that we particularly
[00:13:20.820]like was the CSU.
[00:13:22.007]And I'm just gonna take a second here to, again,
[00:13:24.920]be in conversation with some of the things that emerged.
[00:13:27.540]Walter Echo-Hawk's conversation last night, at the end,
[00:13:30.700]when he was fielding questions from the audience,
[00:13:33.080]how do we move things forward?
[00:13:35.130]He suggested an apology.
[00:13:37.400]And I think that was part of the conversation
[00:13:40.500]this morning in the Tulsa Race Massacre discussion,
[00:13:45.710]apology maybe is the first thing.
[00:13:47.700]And I don't know the CSU,
[00:13:48.593]so I was looking at these statements today.
[00:13:50.670]The CSU one says,
[00:13:52.737]"is founded on a land grant institution
[00:13:55.140]and we accept that our mission must encompass access
[00:13:57.810]to education inclusion,
[00:13:59.250]and significantly that our founding came at a dire cost
[00:14:02.070]to Native nations and peoples whose land
[00:14:04.120]this university was built upon.
[00:14:05.860]This acknowledgement is the education and inclusion
[00:14:08.150]we must practice and recognize institutional history,
[00:14:10.390]responsibility and commitment."
[00:14:11.840]Comes pretty close to an apology.
[00:14:13.620]So maybe today we can talk about whether
[00:14:15.750]land statements should include formal apologies.
[00:14:19.120]Maybe there's a legal issue there. I don't know.
[00:14:20.710]And the other one was University of Central Oklahoma.
[00:14:23.330]And again, what we've learned is a lot of context.
[00:14:28.470]They have their land acknowledgement
[00:14:29.990]which also seems to, as I think Justin is gonna go over,
[00:14:33.360]it acknowledges a lot of the harm that's been done
[00:14:36.207]and the policies passed and present.
[00:14:38.410]Then they have a lot of context,
[00:14:41.340]a guide for reading the statement, and moving beyond words,
[00:14:45.630]which I think is where our committee is now at.
[00:14:48.660]What follow on actions can we do
[00:14:51.030]to make the land statement more than
[00:14:53.240]just something that's performative?
[00:14:55.320]And should I stop screen sharing, Justin?
[00:14:57.840]You got this now to do your own screen sharing?
[00:15:01.240]Yeah. I should be able to share my screen.
[00:15:03.290]So thank you, Matt.
[00:15:06.290]As I, as I pull up my presentation, I have first,
[00:15:10.040]thank you everyone
[00:15:10.900]for putting this event on and joining this discussion.
[00:15:15.420]I have two caveat, maybe, is the right word, caveats,
[00:15:20.520]to my presentation here.
[00:15:22.490]The first is that I'm traveling today.
[00:15:25.220]And so I'm presenting from Panera Bread
[00:15:28.550]in Rapid City, South Dakota.
[00:15:29.967]And so I apologize if there's background noise
[00:15:33.410]or other things that happen during this presentation.
[00:15:37.030]And the other is I'm coming to this conversation
[00:15:39.520]from a different perspective,
[00:15:42.380]both personally and professionally than some of the
[00:15:45.190]other panelists here.
[00:15:48.110]I don't have a background in Indigenous studies.
[00:15:51.860]My kind of desire to join this project
[00:15:55.790]with Dr. Evertson was much more personal.
[00:15:59.990]I think that it's valuable.
[00:16:01.980]I think that it's important.
[00:16:04.140]And it's something that I care about even though my kind
[00:16:07.030]of professional trading is outside
[00:16:08.730]of this particular area of study.
[00:16:10.740]And so my presentation will mainly focus on kind
[00:16:14.870]of a review of what we've learned
[00:16:16.980]looking at landing statements in other places.
[00:16:23.210]So let me begin.
[00:16:24.450]I call it an analytical approach and maybe we'll see why
[00:16:27.204]in a second.
[00:16:29.370]But first kind of broadly,
[00:16:31.130]what we began this conversation,
[00:16:34.820]as a committee, looking at is what
[00:16:37.360]is a land acknowledgement statement?
[00:16:41.550]And the perspective that I'm coming from is particularly
[00:16:44.040]for a college or university, an institution
[00:16:46.410]of higher learning.
[00:16:47.530]What's the value in something like this?
[00:16:49.890]The first thing that I think of is the starting place,
[00:16:53.010]and certainly is,
[00:16:53.843]and it sounds like this has come up in other discussions
[00:16:57.330]already this week, but it isn't the end all
[00:17:00.750]of relationships between the institution
[00:17:03.300]and Indigenous people and communities,
[00:17:06.140]but it's a beginning to build relationships.
[00:17:12.690]I truly believe it's a means to educate
[00:17:15.470]and a particular kind of education
[00:17:17.520]and learning, a kind of a reflective opportunity
[00:17:20.170]to learn about place and people
[00:17:23.933]and contemplate kind of the opportunity that we have,
[00:17:28.680]you know, will take Chadron as the example,
[00:17:30.940]in Chadron, to learn and become educated
[00:17:36.200]and prepared to become, you know,
[00:17:40.365]let's say, what's the mission statement
[00:17:41.200]of Chadron State College?
[00:17:44.340]To prepare leaders
[00:17:46.570]in the High Plains region and beyond or something like that.
[00:17:49.283]I think all of those things are important.
[00:17:50.710]And I think a land statement can do something to broaden
[00:17:54.960]the perspective of what it means to become educated at CSC.
[00:17:59.940]And then finally,
[00:18:00.840]I think that a land acknowledgement statement is
[00:18:04.103]It is a signal to students, faculty, staff,
[00:18:09.860]but also the broader community that we intend to build
[00:18:14.440]relationships with Indigenous communities,
[00:18:17.650]that this is something that is important to us as
[00:18:21.360]Again, maybe relating to the idea
[00:18:23.050]of a starting place.
[00:18:25.580]Okay, so again, bearing in mind,
[00:18:28.890]this is outside of my area of expertise.
[00:18:31.170]I do wanna echo some of the things
[00:18:32.403]that Dr. Evertson talked about.
[00:18:34.590]And particularly what I would say is the importance
[00:18:38.640]of a statement like this at CSC in particular.
[00:18:42.680]This is, you know,
[00:18:44.180]a pretty crude map that I didn't draw
[00:18:47.050]of land designated in the Fort Laramie Treaty
[00:18:53.290]as land for Native populations, right.
[00:18:56.960]Or the Sioux nation broadly,
[00:18:58.960]which obviously includes many different tribes.
[00:19:02.410]And what is clear from this map, you know,
[00:19:05.340]even a cursory glance at this map is that Chadron is part
[00:19:09.030]of that territory, right?
[00:19:10.413]It's part of the land that was given to the Sioux nation.
[00:19:13.840]And in 1980, the Supreme Court of the United States
[00:19:18.300]said that indeed this treaty had been violated
[00:19:21.330]and the Sioux nation was entitled
[00:19:23.730]to compensation for this land.
[00:19:27.010]The Sioux nation has rejected that compensation and insists
[00:19:29.870]that what it deserves
[00:19:31.630]and what it wants is the land itself, not compensation,
[00:19:36.090]but this is kind of the political environment that CSC not
[00:19:40.270]just engages in,
[00:19:41.360]but is directly like centered in.
[00:19:45.150]This is where we live.
[00:19:46.610]And the fact that this conversation isn't regularly
[00:19:49.820]happening on campus seems, I mean,
[00:19:53.250]maybe at best problematic.
[00:19:55.170]Seems like a huge oversight.
[00:19:57.780]And I think that a a land statement
[00:19:59.730]could get us more acquainted with talking
[00:20:02.500]about this reality on campus,
[00:20:05.630]in, I think, really important ways.
[00:20:08.190]Once again, education is one of the, I think the prime
[00:20:13.710]purposes of a land acknowledgement statement.
[00:20:16.770]So in our kind of beginning conversations and looking
[00:20:20.473]we thought about first kind of the simplest way
[00:20:23.610]to distinguish between statements.
[00:20:26.070]And it was kind of the strength of the language.
[00:20:28.300]Now I have here to just generic statements that I wrote
[00:20:31.780]myself loosely based on statements
[00:20:34.530]that we had encountered in our review of peer institutions
[00:20:37.890]and other public institutions.
[00:20:40.960]This is maybe the less strong,
[00:20:44.220]weak language version of a statement.
[00:20:48.610]I think it still intends to educate,
[00:20:51.050]but there's a lot of context missing
[00:20:52.820]in something like this.
[00:20:54.910]And then to give an example of maybe something that would
[00:20:57.810]look like a stronger language.
[00:20:59.170]Again, this is not like what I suggest
[00:21:01.280]the CSC statement be, or anything like that,
[00:21:05.300]but what a strong statement could look like,
[00:21:09.460]something that directly, maybe I'll read through this one,
[00:21:14.290]just 'cause I think that there are lots of kinda pieces
[00:21:16.670]to it that are important.
[00:21:18.050]If I can move all these pictures off of the slide.
[00:21:22.460]So "Chadron State College situated
[00:21:23.970]on the Pine Ridge escarpment in present day Nebraska
[00:21:26.580]sits on land that, for centuries,
[00:21:28.150]has nurtured and supported Indigenous nations.
[00:21:30.520]The United States federal government
[00:21:31.690]first recognized this history
[00:21:32.930]in the Treaties of Fort Laramie.
[00:21:35.803]As confirmed by the Supreme Court in 1980,
[00:21:37.560]the land was fraudulently taken from the Arapahoe,
[00:21:40.910]Cheyenne, Dakota, Lakota and Nakota nations in 1877,
[00:21:45.137]and many other Indigenous communities' connections
[00:21:47.170]to this land has been relegated to history.
[00:21:50.060]Furthermore, as a Nebraska state college,
[00:21:52.570]the dispossession of Omaha, Pawnee, Ponca
[00:21:55.224]and Otoe-Missouria nations
[00:21:56.650]have materially benefited the campus
[00:21:59.550]Chadron State College commits itself to recognizing
[00:22:01.760]this unjust enrichment, and through individual
[00:22:04.080]and collective efforts seeks to offset
[00:22:06.150]historical and contemporary injustices
[00:22:08.290]against Native peoples."
[00:22:10.210]This, I think kind of hits the goal of a statement,
[00:22:16.380]at least one of them,
[00:22:17.213]which is education, recognizing past injustices,
[00:22:21.290]working to build communities.
[00:22:24.840]I then, kind of building on this desire to distinguish
[00:22:30.010]land acknowledgement statements.
[00:22:31.440]I kind of used some of the skills that I have
[00:22:34.790]in social science built a topic model,
[00:22:38.720]a text analytical model that essentially read through
[00:22:43.230]31 land acknowledgement statements
[00:22:45.180]from other public four-year colleges and universities
[00:22:48.187]in the United States,
[00:22:49.960]and the model identifies topics based on clusters of words.
[00:22:55.120]It identified actually 16 topics.
[00:22:57.050]I'm not gonna review all of them.
[00:22:58.130]Some of them seemed a bit noisy,
[00:23:01.350]but three of them were individual topics.
[00:23:03.070]And then two were kind of clusters of topics
[00:23:07.010]that the model identified.
[00:23:08.650]And I have prepared here word clouds of kind of the,
[00:23:12.630]I don't remember how many, 20 or so, top words in each
[00:23:16.210]of those topics that I think suggests
[00:23:20.460]some similarities between land acknowledgement statements
[00:23:24.130]that already exist, but maybe also suggests some holes
[00:23:27.580]in some of these statements.
[00:23:29.500]So one of the first one is an acknowledgment.
[00:23:31.640]Many of these statements, most of them, in fact,
[00:23:34.680]endeavor to acknowledge some kind of history
[00:23:39.330]of Indigenous possession of the land that the university
[00:23:43.990]or college is built upon.
[00:23:46.000]This is maybe obvious,
[00:23:48.130]but the model did bring this out.
[00:23:50.010]It was one of the clearest topics.
[00:23:52.310]Another is some kind of connection between the college
[00:23:58.090]or university and tribal peoples and Indigenous peoples
[00:24:02.020]and, you know, words like relationships, respect,
[00:24:07.100]things like that,
[00:24:08.060]I think are important in this topic.
[00:24:12.480]Another one that I found really interesting that we,
[00:24:14.880]as a group, debated back and forth about the value of was
[00:24:19.250]kind of identifying the specific tribes that have been
[00:24:23.180]affected by dispossession
[00:24:27.918]of the land that a particular college or university
[00:24:31.040]is built upon.
[00:24:32.110]This is a pretty common piece
[00:24:34.780]of most of these land acknowledgement statements,
[00:24:36.640]directly kind of stating a tribal name.
[00:24:43.750]The clusters are obviously a bit bigger,
[00:24:47.370]but one of them is talking about past injustices.
[00:24:50.780]So this one, to many of these kind of phrases
[00:24:55.000]removed from homelands,
[00:24:58.630]but also things like forcibly removed,
[00:25:03.700]live and forcibly,
[00:25:06.220]you know, ceded and unceded,
[00:25:08.470]I think are both in this cloud,
[00:25:10.430]but a recognition
[00:25:12.809]that there had been injustice in the past
[00:25:17.470]that needed to be addressed.
[00:25:20.440]This was a much less clear topic in the model,
[00:25:23.130]which I think is problematic, right?
[00:25:25.150]This, I think, should be upfront
[00:25:26.620]in many of these statements.
[00:25:29.140]And then finally kind of a history of the land
[00:25:32.210]and in some of the research that we did as a committee,
[00:25:34.630]one thing that kept popping up is the idea
[00:25:37.040]that some of the language in these statements,
[00:25:39.570]relegates Indigenous peoples
[00:25:42.440]to a historical moment, right?
[00:25:46.180]The kind of, it moves them from contemporary demands
[00:25:51.320]and politics and relegates them to history.
[00:25:54.660]And in fact, one of the phrases that really rubs me
[00:25:57.020]the wrong way in lots of these statements
[00:25:58.800]is time immemorial,
[00:26:01.000]which in my mind is kind of the perfect way to say people
[00:26:04.290]we've forgotten about.
[00:26:06.570]And that seems counterproductive
[00:26:08.280]to what happens here,
[00:26:09.730]but many of these statements kind of combine land, people
[00:26:14.730]and history together,
[00:26:16.510]and that relegation to history seems less than ideal
[00:26:20.960]in the context of what we're trying to accomplish
[00:26:22.810]in these statements.
[00:26:23.910]So as to conclude kind of what are we trying to accomplish
[00:26:28.010]in these statements.
[00:26:28.843]I think we, as a committee,
[00:26:29.676]are still trying to figure that out at some level,
[00:26:32.320]but a couple of things that I think we've learned together
[00:26:35.060]is coming from the literature again,
[00:26:39.370]but if an acknowledgement is discomforting, triggers
[00:26:42.410]uncomfortable conversations, versus self-congratulation,
[00:26:45.580]it's likely on the right track.
[00:26:46.880]I think this is a really helpful kind of like guidepost
[00:26:51.040]in thinking about these.
[00:26:52.310]Like, are we having tough conversations
[00:26:54.830]that make us feel unsure?
[00:26:57.330]If we are, we're probably moving in the right direction.
[00:27:01.100]And then the other is, again,
[00:27:02.880]I think really important often we think about the use
[00:27:05.750]of these statements as, you know,
[00:27:07.590]something you put at the top of a syllabus or you read
[00:27:09.750]at commencement, or something like that.
[00:27:12.000]But if there's not a connection between the event
[00:27:15.060]or the activity or the class and the people
[00:27:19.910]whose land was dispossessed,
[00:27:22.900]then it's boilerplate,
[00:27:24.380]and boilerplate language is an insult.
[00:27:26.080]It doesn't really serve to build a relationship.
[00:27:30.750]It just serves to kind of tick a box,
[00:27:33.470]which seems wrong as well.
[00:27:35.240]That might mean that a formal land acknowledgement statement
[00:27:39.310]It might mean more something like what Matt
[00:27:41.620]was showing us like
[00:27:42.920]a website that provides context and understanding
[00:27:46.110]and building that we can link to and learn
[00:27:48.620]from and have events
[00:27:49.640]on campus that point students to,
[00:27:52.560]and that build from that.
[00:27:54.000]And, you know, I think we're unsure exactly
[00:27:57.730]where to move forward.
[00:28:00.090]I think that there's some value in many of these statements,
[00:28:02.300]but if there's statements alone, maybe that is insufficient,
[00:28:07.440]I will end my time there, but thank you all very much.
[00:28:14.174]Okay. I will jump right in here.
[00:28:17.450]This is Shannon.
[00:28:18.310]I'm going to share my screen really quickly.
[00:28:23.550]And there we, you go.
[00:28:28.210]So I am not a Chadron State College employee
[00:28:33.330]or faculty member.
[00:28:34.870]I live in Gordon, 42 miles to the east on Highway 20
[00:28:38.610]and grew up here,
[00:28:39.930]but I'm gonna just share a little bit about why I'm involved
[00:28:44.250]in why the Mari Sandoz Heritage Society
[00:28:47.690]is engaged with this process.
[00:28:51.260]This year, the Heritage Society is 50 years old
[00:28:55.010]and we've done a lot of work over the years
[00:28:57.440]commemorating Mari's legacy is one of the most famous
[00:29:02.820]We've put up highway signs and there's a sign right
[00:29:06.680]by the Capitol commemorating her life down in the Sandhills,
[00:29:10.840]and in downtown Lincoln where she spent 10 years trying
[00:29:14.710]to launch her career,
[00:29:17.010]Mari was elected into the Nebraska Hall of Fame.
[00:29:21.240]So she's in the, a bust of her as in the state Capitol.
[00:29:25.860]And we also maintain her grave site,
[00:29:28.660]which is on a hillside way deep in the Sandhills,
[00:29:32.120]about 35 miles south of where I am.
[00:29:34.800]And so we've done a lot of
[00:29:36.380]great public heritage recognition projects,
[00:29:39.360]but we're most proud of, in 2002,
[00:29:44.000]the grand opening
[00:29:45.060]of the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center
[00:29:48.220]on the Chadron State College campus that we helped
[00:29:51.170]raise money for.
[00:29:53.140]In fact, we raised the money for this,
[00:29:54.750]and we, through a memorandum of agreement,
[00:29:58.280]cooperatively managed this building that has
[00:30:02.520]a permanent exhibit, gallery space, archives,
[00:30:06.120]a large arboretum and meeting space.
[00:30:08.580]And so it's really one of the crown jewels
[00:30:12.650]of our organization.
[00:30:15.320]Our board members are really engaged people from all
[00:30:19.390]around the region,
[00:30:20.270]very passionate about Mari and the history of our region.
[00:30:25.760]We have faculty from universities and colleges in Nebraska,
[00:30:30.390]Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota,
[00:30:33.410]and over the next decade,
[00:30:36.380]we've just engaged with a project and partnership
[00:30:39.790]with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Love Library,
[00:30:43.460]where we plan to digitize the nearly two tons
[00:30:48.330]of material that Mari left the library
[00:30:53.070]upon her death in 1966.
[00:30:55.860]More than 200 linear feet of shelving space is being used
[00:31:00.550]for these materials today,
[00:31:02.610]and it includes tens of thousands of pages of her research
[00:31:06.770]material covering the Indigenous tribes
[00:31:08.960]of the Northern Great Plains,
[00:31:10.670]particularly the Oglala and Miniconjou Lakota
[00:31:14.520]and the Northern Cheyenne in Northern Arapahoe peoples.
[00:31:18.510]This collection has been used in a very rudimentary way.
[00:31:22.020]I can't imagine how much work it took
[00:31:24.810]to write her biography and also publish a collection
[00:31:28.630]of her letters in a 500-page edited collection
[00:31:31.320]by Dr. Helen Winter Stauffer.
[00:31:33.530]But in the early 2000s,
[00:31:36.010]Dr. Kimberli Lee started working with this collection
[00:31:40.806]to create a really in-depth index.
[00:31:43.260]She ended up building a subset and publishing a book,
[00:31:48.027]"I Do Not Apologize for the Length of this Letter,"
[00:31:50.710]which is a selection of Mari's letters
[00:31:53.880]on Native American rights from 1940 to 1965.
[00:31:58.320]What really came out of this is these many letters highlight
[00:32:01.470]that Sandoz was not content to just merely chronicle
[00:32:04.190]the past, she was a zealous advocate
[00:32:06.530]for Native peoples, taking on the federal government.
[00:32:09.400]She wrote to Eisenhower.
[00:32:10.690]She wrote to anybody who would listen,
[00:32:12.820]fighting termination and relocation policies
[00:32:15.430]that she knew through her friends
[00:32:17.490]in Indigenous America work catastrophic.
[00:32:20.950]She appeared on national television programs.
[00:32:24.110]She wrote articles in major magazines
[00:32:26.460]like Reader's Digest and Look.
[00:32:28.850]And she really fought the ludicrous depictions
[00:32:33.560]of American Indians, particularly Plains Indians
[00:32:38.320]So our board is really inspired by Mari's commitment
[00:32:42.170]to Native American rights and her allyship
[00:32:45.150]with her many American Indian friends,
[00:32:46.890]and her activism to help them inspires us today.
[00:32:50.040]And it informs the vision as we move into our next 50 years.
[00:32:54.370]So we're certain that she would want us to be participating
[00:32:58.610]in this work that we're doing here in partnership
[00:33:02.770]with this committee,
[00:33:04.380]we know that she would be right there on the front lines,
[00:33:08.810]trying to advocate and acknowledge the historical injustice
[00:33:12.210]of the colonization of the Americas.
[00:33:15.010]And indeed all of her work was, her research and writing,
[00:33:19.100]was on the settler colonialism that we seek
[00:33:21.580]to reckon with today.
[00:33:23.010]Her books were about the mountain men and the cattlemen
[00:33:25.800]and the homesteaders, as well as the Native Americans.
[00:33:28.750]And she did not glorify Manifest Destiny.
[00:33:32.910]Instead, she put a mirror up for people of that era
[00:33:35.780]to see what encroachment has done to the land
[00:33:40.460]and the people of this region.
[00:33:42.730]So when Matt approached me to join a group
[00:33:45.590]of the CSC faculty to engage with this,
[00:33:48.400]we talked to our board and they agreed that this would make
[00:33:52.130]a lot of sense,
[00:33:53.040]particularly since we share a building on campus.
[00:33:56.120]And we believe this center can model the practice
[00:33:59.350]for other campus departments if necessary.
[00:34:01.760]So we're very actively excited to participate in this,
[00:34:07.420]but my personal professional background also draws me
[00:34:10.590]to this project.
[00:34:12.000]So I worked for seven years due north of me here
[00:34:15.180]on the Pine Ridge Reservation at Oglala Lakota College,
[00:34:18.820]and for the last eight years,
[00:34:20.620]I have run the Wyoming Humanities Council,
[00:34:23.310]where we focused a lot
[00:34:24.670]of our work on the cultural preservation, heritage
[00:34:27.550]and education projects with the two tribes
[00:34:31.310]of the Wind River Indian Reservation,
[00:34:33.460]the Eastern Shoshone and the Northern Arapahoe.
[00:34:37.840]My office was on the university campus
[00:34:40.190]and the University of Wyoming Student Organization,
[00:34:44.300]as directed by the Keepers of the Fire Student Organization,
[00:34:48.640]passed a land acknowledgement
[00:34:50.940]through their student government in 2020.
[00:34:54.040]To date, many of the departments of that campus
[00:34:56.890]have adopted this, but it has not been adopted
[00:35:00.220]by the university or the board of trustees
[00:35:03.250]or the president's office.
[00:35:05.000]But as they went through this process,
[00:35:07.720]their statement inspired my organization to adopt something
[00:35:11.810]similar of our own, but more than that,
[00:35:14.500]we used it as a framework to conduct
[00:35:17.801]some programs from around the state,
[00:35:19.010]and one, this image that I'm sharing with you,
[00:35:22.860]we brought of performance of "The Thanksgiving Play"
[00:35:25.740]by Larissa FastHorse.
[00:35:27.600]She's a Sicangu Lakota playwright,
[00:35:30.190]and she's won a MacArthur Genius Fellowship
[00:35:32.420]for her groundbreaking work.
[00:35:34.000]And this play, if you ever get an opportunity
[00:35:37.010]to bring it or see it, is incredibly impactful,
[00:35:41.250]and it's a comedy.
[00:35:43.422]It's really a satire.
[00:35:45.520]It's very challenging,
[00:35:46.550]but it's a group of very woke elementary school teachers
[00:35:50.690]in Los Angeles, trying to make
[00:35:52.610]a Thanksgiving pageant when none of them are
[00:35:55.330]Indigenous and they end up reaching the very funny,
[00:35:59.210]but very uncomfortable conclusion that the only way to honor
[00:36:02.810]the Indigenous peoples who have disappeared is to write them
[00:36:06.940]out of the story.
[00:36:07.773]So they write them out of the performance that they do.
[00:36:10.170]And so this really was in-your-face,
[00:36:15.110]And it was so skewered about what can easily,
[00:36:19.360]to me, it represents what can so easily go wrong as we work
[00:36:23.300]to try to write and develop this statement.
[00:36:25.580]And so it's never been far from my mind as I've continued
[00:36:30.820]to consult and volunteer on these public humanities
[00:36:34.130]and cultural heritage projects that I work
[00:36:36.280]on in Nebraska and Wyoming.
[00:36:38.900]They're all with various tribes that I've come to know over
[00:36:42.310]the course of my career and,
[00:36:46.020]like Mari Sandoz, I try to be a good ally.
[00:36:48.570]I wanna make, take tangible action.
[00:36:51.310]I want to bring about meaningful change,
[00:36:54.520]but the message of the Thanksgiving play is never far
[00:36:57.300]from my mind.
[00:36:58.133]And it's really hit me a lot
[00:37:00.510]as we try to do, this committee tries to do this outreach.
[00:37:06.870]We wanted to go to the regional communities
[00:37:10.120]of Indigenous peoples and find out what they thought.
[00:37:14.620]And so one of the first things I did is talk
[00:37:16.310]to some of my colleagues and friends
[00:37:18.300]that I worked with,
[00:37:19.200]and the Native Americans
[00:37:21.930]that I spoke with had a very broad and diverse,
[00:37:24.020]as you would imagine, set of responses.
[00:37:27.580]People in academia and government, they'd heard
[00:37:30.200]of land acknowledgements, and they, for the most part,
[00:37:32.230]thought these were of benefit.
[00:37:36.310]They were kind of just ambivalent about it.
[00:37:38.480]Not, you know, didn't think they were bad.
[00:37:40.320]They just didn't think much of them.
[00:37:42.720]I talked to several elders who had never,
[00:37:44.740]ever heard of them and thought, you know,
[00:37:46.830]maybe it'll be a good thing.
[00:37:48.650]If you participate in meetings on reservations,
[00:37:52.150]generally when the meeting opens,
[00:37:54.550]it opens with a blessing that centers everybody
[00:37:58.420]in the meeting and reminds you
[00:37:59.940]that we're all part of humanity.
[00:38:01.700]And a couple people I talked to said, you know,
[00:38:03.520]maybe it'd be good for non-Indigenous people
[00:38:06.470]to open up meetings
[00:38:08.100]recognizing the colonization of the Native Americans
[00:38:12.450]and help bring that into their, you know, worldview.
[00:38:16.010]So they thought, you know, overall,
[00:38:17.490]it's a pretty good thing.
[00:38:19.390]But as Matt and the committee and I started working on this,
[00:38:22.570]it became clear pretty quickly that writing a quote unquote
[00:38:25.650]good land acknowledgement in consultation
[00:38:28.690]with the Indigenous people upon whose land
[00:38:31.300]you are acknowledging is a really challenging process.
[00:38:33.917]And one that can get a little too close
[00:38:35.540]to those hapless teachers in the Thanksgiving play.
[00:38:39.330]So where I'm gonna draw the end here
[00:38:42.400]is that it's the process.
[00:38:44.780]It's this journey that we're all realizing is the most
[00:38:47.600]important part of this land acknowledgement idea.
[00:38:52.030]And we think it can be a really good thing if correctly
[00:38:54.950]with authenticity and an open heart.
[00:38:58.270]And I did get a chance to talk to the CEO
[00:39:02.310]of the National Association of Interpretation.
[00:39:04.560]So they're the organization of professionals that do
[00:39:07.430]cultural heritage interpretation around the globe,
[00:39:09.910]including Indigenous cultural sites.
[00:39:11.820]And he said it best.
[00:39:14.314]"If we start using this language at gonna become embedded
[00:39:16.040]in our psyche and eventually in our culture,
[00:39:18.460]and this is a good start."
[00:39:20.050]So, so far, I think we've learned that it's action,
[00:39:22.850]not words that's gonna be important.
[00:39:24.960]And I think if we continue this learning process
[00:39:27.770]and demonstrate our own good will to become good allies,
[00:39:32.640]this is gonna be a really good next step.
[00:39:35.100]So one of the aspects of our learning process was trying
[00:39:39.890]to figure out, or learning more,
[00:39:41.720]it was really interesting to me,
[00:39:43.120]learning more about what Indigenous people
[00:39:45.020]in the digital world are saying.
[00:39:46.470]So with that,
[00:39:47.620]I'm gonna stop sharing my screen and pass this on to Tish.
[00:39:55.273]Sorry about that.
[00:39:56.740]I was getting my screen where I could share it.
[00:39:59.520]I came to this project
[00:40:00.760]a little bit later than everybody else.
[00:40:03.110]I was asked in the last couple of months to join.
[00:40:07.190]I am the instructional design
[00:40:09.820]and technology specialist here.
[00:40:11.780]And so we put on professional development
[00:40:14.420]for our faculty and staff.
[00:40:16.920]And one of the most recent ones was about decolonizing
[00:40:21.930]the curriculum, and Matt attended,
[00:40:25.820]and we had a good conversation and he wanted to know more
[00:40:30.280]about decolonization and how it's part of this.
[00:40:35.060]And so that's how I got onto this group.
[00:40:39.420]My husband is a student here,
[00:40:43.850]but he's also TikTok famous,
[00:40:46.930]which means that he has over 300,000 followers on TikTok.
[00:40:52.120]And there's a large Native American community on TikTok
[00:40:55.450]and it's called NativeTok.
[00:40:57.746]And we wanted to know
[00:41:00.670]what Native Americans
[00:41:04.090]and First Peoples were thinking
[00:41:06.370]about land acknowledgement statements,
[00:41:08.780]but we weren't able to reach out to the community
[00:41:11.210]at this point,
[00:41:12.043]so we thought that a great way to maybe do some research
[00:41:15.600]into what the thoughts were
[00:41:17.400]about land acknowledgement statements was
[00:41:19.410]to go to social media, and TikTok specifically,
[00:41:23.260]we put out a video, I put one out,
[00:41:26.410]I only have 1400 followers, so I'm not nearly as famous,
[00:41:30.240]but we both put a statement out and we had
[00:41:34.790]a little bit of engagement,
[00:41:36.390]but then I went back through and I went
[00:41:39.790]into the discover feature of TikTok.
[00:41:42.440]And I typed in #landacknowledgement.
[00:41:46.180]And there are over a hundred or 1.5 million videos
[00:41:51.050]that have this hashtag.
[00:41:52.720]Now, not all of them have a position on whether or not
[00:41:58.720]they agree or disagree with land acknowledgement statements,
[00:42:02.680]but there are one and a half million hits.
[00:42:05.600]I selected a hundred videos just at random,
[00:42:09.720]and it was kind of interesting that it came out that it was
[00:42:12.750]half non-Indigenous and half Indigenous.
[00:42:16.080]I will say that there were some limits to this research.
[00:42:19.810]I labeled them simply as pro or con,
[00:42:22.980]whether they seem to have a more positive skew
[00:42:28.530]towards land acknowledgement or more negative,
[00:42:31.250]but that doesn't address the nuances that a I'll show you
[00:42:34.510]in some of the different videos.
[00:42:38.090]Some of them, I only put as pro because they had
[00:42:40.830]a land acknowledgement statement in their video.
[00:42:43.870]So it was interesting to see the split
[00:42:48.400]between Indigenous creators and non-Indigenous creators.
[00:42:53.810]As you can see in this very simple chart that I made,
[00:42:58.770]Indigenous creators are kind of split half and half.
[00:43:02.870]There are more pro than con.
[00:43:05.860]Some of the people who are pro
[00:43:07.530]are also con, so that they acknowledge
[00:43:10.610]that these are important.
[00:43:12.060]They also acknowledge that they can't just be
[00:43:14.420]your get out of jail free card,
[00:43:17.980]as opposed to non-Indigenous creators
[00:43:20.160]who were very much pro.
[00:43:22.620]So I found that extremely
[00:43:28.470]telling as far as whether
[00:43:31.290]or not land acknowledgement statements are performative.
[00:43:38.836]I'm from Oklahoma originally,
[00:43:40.550]and so I have a lot of Indigenous friends and I taught
[00:43:43.420]in a Indigenous school there.
[00:43:46.530]So I also reached out to my friends,
[00:43:48.480]and as Dr. Curtis was saying,
[00:43:51.180]it's very important that the language acknowledges not only
[00:43:56.350]whose land on, but also what happened there.
[00:44:00.940]That was a big part of what
[00:44:03.926]my colleagues who were from Oklahoma had to say,
[00:44:08.490]who are Indigenous.
[00:44:10.510]So I'm gonna stop talking and let you see what TikTok has
[00:44:14.960]to say about land acknowledgement statements.
[00:44:19.270]And these are just five that I picked.
[00:44:21.660]There are three Indigenous creators,
[00:44:23.447]two non-Indigenous creators.
[00:44:29.956]Okay, so this is a good question.
[00:44:30.789]What are my thoughts about universities and colleges doing
[00:44:34.050]Okay, so the university has acknowledged
[00:44:35.900]whose land that they're built on,
[00:44:37.100]but what are they doing for the Native community?
[00:44:39.120]Like, I think it's one thing when I go
[00:44:40.350]to a roller derby tournament and the tournament
[00:44:42.170]acknowledges whose land that they're being held on,
[00:44:44.470]because the tournament doesn't have a lot of capital
[00:44:46.840]to really give back to the Native community.
[00:44:48.420]But like for the next four days,
[00:44:49.740]I live in Bloomington Indiana,
[00:44:51.500]the home of Indiana University,
[00:44:53.170]and Indiana University is a very large university.
[00:44:56.150]And when I was a student there in undergraduate
[00:44:58.520]and graduate school, we had to fight
[00:45:00.500]with the university to even get
[00:45:01.970]a student center for Native students,
[00:45:03.630]because they didn't feel it was worth it.
[00:45:05.690]So they acknowledged before graduation or a football game
[00:45:08.480]that they were on Miami land,
[00:45:09.980]but what are they doing for the Native community?
[00:45:12.470]Because of the history of Indiana with removal,
[00:45:14.690]we do have a smaller Native population here,
[00:45:16.780]and we are kind of a multi-tribal population,
[00:45:19.440]but that doesn't mean that there
[00:45:20.410]is no Native population here.
[00:45:21.867]And I think acknowledging whose land they are built
[00:45:24.030]on without doing anything to give back
[00:45:25.680]to the Native community
[00:45:26.513]is pretty much just lip service.
Ladies and gentlemens,
[00:45:31.196]Before we get to tonight's show,
[00:45:32.043]we'd like to acknowledge that we are on stolen land
[00:45:35.400]that rightfully belongs to the (indistinct) tribe.
[00:45:38.710]We're not giving it back obviously, (laughs)
[00:45:41.110]but we wanted to acknowledge it and honor this land
[00:45:43.740]as much as our board of trustees will allow.
[00:45:46.280]Because acknowledgement is the first step,
[00:45:48.480]and also the last step we will be taking.
[00:45:50.910]Now without further ado,
[00:45:52.600]let us honor this land with tonight's show,
[00:45:55.033]"Annie, Get Your Gun."
[00:45:57.720]Hey, relatives. Let's talk land acknowledgement.
[00:46:00.770]It's Native American History Month,
[00:46:02.580]which means these are gonna be even more all the rage
[00:46:04.970]right now because it's Native American History Month.
[00:46:07.510]So right now these land acknowledgements are like,
[00:46:10.480]everybody's doing them.
[00:46:11.450]Whenever there is a conference, a convening,
[00:46:13.800]a meeting, an organization gets, you know, together,
[00:46:17.110]wherever two or more people are gathered
[00:46:19.080]in the name of education or anything else, the facilitator,
[00:46:22.790]the host, the person in charge, the MC,
[00:46:26.410]they all take a minute out of their itinerary, right,
[00:46:30.587]to do a land acknowledgement.
[00:46:32.050]Hey, we wanna take a second to acknowledge the fact
[00:46:34.750]that we are on ancestral Tenian lands,
[00:46:37.800]ancestral Apache lands.
[00:46:39.890]You are sitting on ancestral Ohlone tribal land,
[00:46:43.670]you know, which is great, right?
[00:46:45.190]It's awesome. I think they're important.
[00:46:47.140]They're informational. They're interesting.
[00:46:49.410]And it is important for everyone to know, you know,
[00:46:52.380]that we were in these spaces,
[00:46:54.370]that prior to colonization,
[00:46:56.260]that pre-first contact,
[00:46:57.500]our people were thriving in these geographical spaces
[00:47:00.440]on the map, right?
[00:47:01.580]We were living there. We were eating there.
[00:47:03.340]We were hunting there. We were planting there.
[00:47:05.160]We were giving birth there.
[00:47:06.760]We were doing all kinds of things,
[00:47:08.390]just succeeding and thriving in these spaces, right?
[00:47:11.120]And that's important to know.
[00:47:13.150]Here's the problem I do have
[00:47:14.470]with land acknowledgements though.
[00:47:16.080]They are not a get out of jail free card.
[00:47:18.660]Just because you take a second to acknowledge
[00:47:21.310]the ancestral lands that you are standing on
[00:47:23.330]during a function does not
[00:47:25.160]mean you have met your, you know, social justice,
[00:47:28.480]Indigenous activism quota for the day.
[00:47:31.983]That does not absolve you of your due diligence in terms
[00:47:35.690]of furthering Indigenous issues and Native issues.
[00:47:39.580]And unfortunately, people are using it as such.
[00:47:42.030]People think that, okay,
[00:47:43.040]I took a few seconds before my meeting to let everybody know
[00:47:46.370]whose land we were sitting on.
[00:47:49.330]Hmm. That's not the way it works.
[00:47:51.490]No, that's not the way it works.
[00:47:53.390]It's fine that you acknowledge the land that you're on.
[00:47:55.540]It's important that you acknowledge the land
[00:47:57.435]that you're on, right?
[00:47:58.270]It's important that people understand the communities
[00:48:02.180]of Native and Indigenous folks that lived on that land prior
[00:48:06.160]And I'm not knocking that at all.
[00:48:08.360]What I am saying is don't use that as a crutch
[00:48:11.010]to do nothing else.
[00:48:12.540]So just because you've done a land acknowledgement
[00:48:15.450]by all means, keep them coming.
[00:48:17.030]I love them.
[00:48:18.130]But also understand that that
[00:48:19.530]is not the end of Indigenous activism, okay?
[00:48:22.820]That is a first step.
[00:48:24.450]That is definitely not your entire activism career, right?
[00:48:29.650]Be knowledgeable, do better, keep doing better,
[00:48:33.040]keep learning about stuff and, you know,
[00:48:36.740]get involved in your community in every way possible.
[00:48:40.010]Love you guys.
[00:48:42.940]Hey out there. This is your mom, Annie.
[00:48:45.760]And I'm here to talk about how I use activism
[00:48:49.450]in my daily life,
[00:48:50.890]because it's something I do to intentionally affect change.
[00:48:56.020]So I use a land acknowledgement,
[00:48:57.627]and I know some folks in my comments were applauding that.
[00:49:01.170]And I think that's something that everyone can do.
[00:49:04.030]So the website behind me is where you would go to find
[00:49:08.980]whose lands that you reside on.
[00:49:11.990]I use mine in Zoom calls, emails,
[00:49:14.920]if I speak, stuff like that,
[00:49:17.400]it's just a quick way to insert some activism
[00:49:20.860]into your daily life, and being disabled,
[00:49:24.160]I'm not always able to participate in person.
[00:49:27.650]So little things like this is how I keep it going.
[00:49:32.780]So you can follow me.
[00:49:33.983]I'll keep sharing these tips.
[00:49:36.610]This is what Natives want to say
[00:49:38.240]whenever we're asked to give a land acknowledgement.
[00:49:41.240]I am Mayor Peppers.
[00:49:42.450]And tonight we're here to talk about Lone Moose.
[00:49:44.680]But first let us acknowledge that before this place was
[00:49:47.350]called Lone Moose by some very cold
[00:49:49.420]and very crappy Europeans,
[00:49:51.100]it was the homeland of my ancestors,
[00:49:53.130]the (indistinct) people
[00:49:54.350]for thousands and thousands and thousands of years.
[00:49:57.050]And why land acknowledgements are fine,
[00:49:59.380]it'd be better if they just went ahead
[00:50:01.070]and gave the land back.
[00:50:04.240]So as you can see from these videos,
[00:50:09.330]there's a lot more to the conversation
[00:50:13.850]than just whether you're for or against
[00:50:16.590]land acknowledgement statements.
[00:50:18.600]And so I really think that we need to make sure
[00:50:23.530]that we're not speaking over Indigenous voices
[00:50:27.590]and that we're bringing them into the conversation.
[00:50:31.480]And with that, I'll give it back to Dr. Evertson.
[00:50:44.036]Oh, I'm sorry. I lost my Zoom there for a bit.
[00:50:50.750]Yes, and you should feel free to either put your comments
[00:50:55.130]in or your questions in the chat
[00:50:57.240]or use their raise hand function
[00:50:59.700]just to make it a little easier to see
[00:51:01.140]who's hoping to talk.
[00:51:06.223]While we're waiting.
[00:51:07.060]Tish, I'm going to just jump in here and say that,
[00:51:11.460]let me see if I can share screen real quick.
[00:51:13.640]There, we had a campus conversation about this
[00:51:18.650]last week and I shared this poem.
[00:51:21.160]So if anybody's following along,
[00:51:24.200]maybe I'll put this link in the chat,
[00:51:27.280]this kind of the same thing, a very sort of,
[00:51:30.660]from an Indigenous writer that really sort of takes apart
[00:51:36.220]the performative nature of a lot of these land statements.
[00:51:38.940]So the TikTok is a revelation to me, Tish,
[00:51:41.950]I really appreciate you sharing that.
[00:51:43.910]I'll put this a link in the comments.
[00:51:48.890]I have a question
[00:51:50.010]if nobody from the audience is going to jump in.
[00:51:54.350]So I have spent a lot of time thinking
[00:51:56.670]about land acknowledgements
[00:51:59.780]and working through like what action
[00:52:02.810]can go along with a land acknowledgement
[00:52:05.140]at a place like UNL.
[00:52:07.680]And one of the things that I keep running into, right,
[00:52:11.700]is this question about like, what are we like,
[00:52:16.010]what are we giving back
[00:52:19.740]to like the Indigenous people who are performing the labor
[00:52:23.240]that comes along with consulting on land acknowledgements,
[00:52:27.400]or, you know,
[00:52:28.860]giving opening blessings and that sort of thing.
[00:52:31.760]So is this question of how to like,
[00:52:36.070]has the question of how to fairly compensate
[00:52:38.590]the Indigenous people who are working with you
[00:52:40.970]come up at all?
[00:52:44.700]Is that something you're thinking about?
[00:52:48.933]Shannon, you wanna weigh in on that?
[00:52:50.070]Yeah, that's Margaret, that's a great question,
[00:52:53.590]and I would share this with everybody.
[00:52:55.597]And this kind of came about with my previous position
[00:52:58.350]at Wyoming Humanities Council.
[00:52:59.920]And I worked with a lot of elders,
[00:53:03.350]spiritual leaders, culture bearers.
[00:53:06.210]And we actually, when I first started in the early 2010s,
[00:53:10.150]had a battle with the National Endowment for the Humanities,
[00:53:12.760]because they wanted to consider a humanities scholar as
[00:53:17.210]somebody over a Master's level and, you know,
[00:53:22.580]And there was a very robust amount of conversation
[00:53:28.220]about, no, this is not the only way
[00:53:31.280]that you can categorize what
[00:53:33.650]a scholar or what an expert contributor to a project is.
[00:53:37.710]I frequently say when I'm writing grants
[00:53:41.060]that I would pay an elder
[00:53:43.570]the same price would pay an attorney consulting
[00:53:46.440]on the project or a major scholar
[00:53:50.390]or nationally recognized expert.
[00:53:52.980]This is something of monetary value.
[00:53:57.780]And one of the hard things that we do find is that very
[00:54:01.320]frequently, especially elders do not wanna accept money,
[00:54:05.570]and in that case, can you give a gift
[00:54:07.720]to some kind of tribal or local organization?
[00:54:11.520]So there's a lot of ways to do this.
[00:54:15.027]And the one thing I would just say is always, always offer,
[00:54:19.340]and don't say "How much do you want?"
[00:54:21.740]Make and offer.
[00:54:26.430]I'll just add to that the Sandoz Society
[00:54:28.980]did approve a grant proposal
[00:54:31.100]that I put forward last month to equip us
[00:54:34.810]to do some of this,
[00:54:35.920]to have a budget for people that we might contract as
[00:54:40.120]and no I've run into the same thing that Shannon has when
[00:54:43.300]I've talked to individuals about this,
[00:54:44.840]they're a little bit reluctant to take payment.
[00:54:47.440]They think that might sort of color
[00:54:50.490]their way they're perceived.
[00:54:54.480]And I just wanna respond real quickly
[00:54:55.940]before we run out of time.
[00:54:57.030]Heather had a question in the chat.
[00:54:59.620]So we had our campus discussion,
[00:55:02.010]the first of many that we hope to have,
[00:55:04.000]unlike what the TikTok said,
[00:55:05.290]we don't want this to be the last step, but the students,
[00:55:11.030]I don't believe there are any Indigenous students
[00:55:12.780]in the group that was there.
[00:55:14.940]Everybody's for it.
[00:55:16.110]They all think it's great.
[00:55:17.340]And talk about trying to,
[00:55:19.550]I had to try and put my teacher hat in
[00:55:22.076]and bring about some discomfort,
[00:55:24.850]and so picking up on what was discussed in the earlier panel
[00:55:28.810]about Pioneer Park here in Lincoln,
[00:55:31.160]the homesteading narratives have a very,
[00:55:33.747]and I would say some of them are obviously
[00:55:35.630]very mythic as well,
[00:55:37.040]they have a very strong, you know,
[00:55:39.940]out-proportioned impact in our region.
[00:55:43.530]Everybody's got their homesteading story.
[00:55:46.000]How will that be impacted by a statement that says
[00:55:49.880]that land was stolen?
[00:55:52.920]That's where the rubber meets the road, I think.
[00:55:56.422]And the students were very, again, very open to all this,
[00:56:00.840]but when they start talking about land back
[00:56:02.790]and things like that, of course, you know,
[00:56:05.510]we start getting into a lot of hemming and hawing.
[00:56:15.740]I think we can squeeze in one last question.
[00:56:20.550]If anybody has one.
[00:56:24.570]I can point out one quick thing if they don't.
[00:56:27.030]The Macy's Parade,
[00:56:28.120]did anybody notice the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade
[00:56:30.820]had a land acknowledgement at the very beginning?
[00:56:33.380]And it was done in collaboration with Indigenous directions,
[00:56:37.090]which is the company of that playwright I mentioned,
[00:56:39.640]Larissa FastHorse, and they actually had a,
[00:56:47.000]oh my goodness,
[00:56:47.910]one of the Manhattan tribes actually conducted
[00:56:52.800]a statement right before the parade started.
[00:56:54.957]And so it was done in conjunction with them,
[00:56:57.340]and they have a lot of great information about how they
[00:57:00.130]operate and why they thought that was important.
[00:57:02.940]So that really helped informed my thinking on this as well.
[00:57:07.560]Shannon, did you see that the Oscars also did
[00:57:10.610]a land acknowledgement statement?
[00:57:11.810]I did not see that.
[00:57:13.140]So they had a member of a tribe be the person to do it.
[00:57:17.250]Well, excellent. I'm gonna go look for that.
[00:57:20.760]All right. Well, thank you everybody.
[00:57:22.700]I know, like I said,
[00:57:23.760]as someone who spends a lot of time lately
[00:57:25.400]thinking about land acknowledgements
[00:57:26.950]and answering emails about land acknowledgements,
[00:57:29.070]this panel gave me a lot of new things to think about.
[00:57:32.600]And I thank you so much for sharing the work
[00:57:34.760]that you've been doing with all of us today.
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