Land acknowledgment

A land acknowledgment is a formal statement that recognizes the unique and enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories.

The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion encourages the Wayne State community to adopt the following land acknowledgment. Creation of this land acknowledgment was a joint effort between the WSU Student Senate, Office of Multicultural Student Engagement (OMSE), Native American Student Organization (NASO), faculty across multiple disciplines, and community members of Indigenous tribes. This collective sought the need to celebrate Indigenous culture while disseminating knowledge of native peoples and their relation to the institution's history. 

"Wayne State University rests on Waawiyaataanong, also referred to as Detroit, the ancestral and contemporary homeland of the Three Fires Confederacy. These sovereign lands were granted by the Ojibwe, Odawa, Potawatomi, and Wyandot nations, in 1807, through the Treaty of Detroit. Wayne State University affirms Indigenous sovereignty and honors all tribes with a connection to Detroit. With our Native neighbors, WSU can advance educational equity and promote a better future for the earth and all people."

We have included an audio file of former Native American Student Organization president and WSU alum, Kaela Wabanimkee-Harris, reading the land acknowledgment.

We thank community members of the Anishinaabe, Walpole Island First Nations, Ojibwe, Lakota, Lipan Apache, Meherrin, Cherokee, and Blackfeet for lending your wisdom and experiences during the creation of the land acknowledgment. 

Use of the land acknowledgment

A land acknowledgment is the first step in recognizing Indigenous communities and the history of the land on which Wayne State rests. The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion encourages colleges, divisions, and departments to consider using the land acknowledgment in the following ways:

  • To begin formal meetings and ceremonies by reciting the land acknowledgment 
  • Including the land acknowledgment in course syllabi
  • Sharing the land acknowledgment within your school, college, division or organization's communications and webpages
  • Ensuring the land acknowledgment and consideration of Indigenous cultures are infused into diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts

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