Territorial Acknowledgements foreground our connections to Indigenous dispossession.
We encourage our colleagues in the Department of English to open classes and public lectures with this Territorial Acknowledgement and to add it and the language, resources, and links below to their syllabi as a call to action for their audience. We hope that this acknowledgement leads to wider discussions about settler colonialism and the construction of historical narratives. We would like to extend our thanks to the Indigenous Studies Working Group at Texas A&M for their research and work in developing a Territorial Acknowledgement from which the following is adapted:
We, the Department of English, acknowledge that Texas A&M University (College Station) is situated on the land of multiple Native nations, past and present. These original homelands are the territory of Indigenous peoples who were largely dispossessed and removed. We specifically acknowledge the traditional stewardship of this land by the Tonkawa, Tawakoni, Hueco, Sana, Wichita, and Coahuiltecan peoples. We pledge to support and advocate for the histories, cultures, languages, and territorial rights of historic Indigenous peoples of Texas and those of the Indigenous peoples who live here now. This statement affirms continuous Indigenous presence and rights, acknowledges the ongoing effects of settler colonization, and supports Indigenous struggles for political, legal, and cultural sovereignty.
However, acknowledgements and statements are insufficient without action behind their words, as Summer Wilkie argues in “So You Want to Acknowledge the Land” (High Country News 22 April 2021: https://www.hcn.org/issues/53.5/indigenous-affairs-perspective-so-you-want-to-acknowledge-the-land).
We encourage you to learn more about affiliated groups of Native nations and tribes in your community and to support the Native American and Indigenous Student Organization at Texas A&M (https://maroonlink.tamu.edu/organization/american_indian_student_assoc). The College of Liberal Arts also offers coursework in Native and Indigenous history and culture, including ANTH 301: Indians of North America, HIST 258: American Indian History, and ENGL 357: Native American Rhetorics and Literatures.
To learn more about the over 10.7 million acres of Indigenous land and territory used by the United States government as land-grant university endowments, including for Texas A&M, review High Country News’s study on the Morrill Act of 1862 (https://www.hcn.org/issues/52.4/indigenous-affairs-education-land-grab-universities).
To further understand the importance of land and territorial acknowledgments, consult additional resources, such as http://landacknowledgements.org/.