Medaille University respectfully acknowledges that its campus grounds are located on lands still regarded as being the homelands of the Seneca and many Haudenosaunee people. As such, the University is asking its campus community to incorporate an Indigenous Land Acknowledgment Statement as part of the formal proceedings of any official campus event, including but not limited to Commencement, Honors Convocation, award ceremonies, honor society inductions and other department-level events.
“At Medaille, we believe that this acknowledgment process brings additional awareness and education of what we, as a society, owe to Indigenous peoples,” says Interim Vice President for Student Development Kenya K. Hobbs ’22.
The statement comes after a committee of Medaille representatives, including Hobbs, Interim President Lori V. Quigley, Ph.D. (a Seneca Nation member), Assistant Professor of Humanities Hugh Burnam (a Mohawk, Wolf Clan, member) and Student Government Association members, spent time meeting and conferring with Seneca representatives.
The following Medaille University Indigenous Land Acknowledgement Statement should be used, in full, by students, faculty and staff at campus events and proceedings:
We begin this event by acknowledging that we are on the land of Indigenous peoples. Today, these lands are still regarded as being the homelands of the Seneca and many Haudenosaunee people. We respect the treaty rights of the Haudenosaunee and the obligation of the United States and New York State governments to adhere to them.
We commit ourselves to advocate for inclusion and restitution for past atrocities. May we all aspire to a world of reconciliation, guided by the example of the Haudenosaunee themselves, with mutual respect and equality to prevail among all people and nations.
In addition to incorporating a reading of the statement into campus events, the University is working on having it displayed in signage and/or a mural on campus, as an additional step to increase awareness and education opportunities.
“We understand that this is simply a starting point,” says Hobbs. “We have much work to do in making things better and more inclusive, not only for Native Americans, but for other people of the global majority.”