The University of Maryland officially unveiled its land acknowledgment this past week, and it says all “two-leggeds” must work to make sure the world is a better place than what was “inherited.”
Land acknowledgements have become quite popular on American campuses; they essentially note that a school sits on what originally was [insert Native American tribe] land and may offer sentiments of regret or apology.
The Diamondback reports that UMD President Darryll Pines (pictured) emailed the text of that school’s acknowledgement on Thursday, noting that students and faculty worked with “Native and Indigenous Elders” for two and a half years to come up with the honor for the Piscataway people.
A November 1 campus ceremony will detail the history of the Piscataway whose land “European colonizers stole.” Pines noted in his message the official land acknowledgement “should be the only one read aloud at campus events,” and that UMD organizations and departments should not “use or create a different one.”
The UMD land acknowledgement reads:
Every community owes its existence and strength to the generations before them, around the world, who contributed their hopes, dreams, and energy into making the history that led to this moment.
Truth and acknowledgement are critical in building mutual respect and connections across all barriers of heritage and difference.
So, we acknowledge the truth that is often buried: We are on the ancestral lands of the Piscataway People, who are the ancestral stewards of this sacred land. It is their historical responsibility to advocate for the four-legged, the winged, those that crawl and those that swim. They remind us that clean air and pristine waterways are essential to all life.
This Land Acknowledgement is a vocal reminder for each of us as two-leggeds to ensure our physical environment is in better condition than what we inherited, for the health and prosperity of future generations.
At least one person wasn’t happy about Pines and the university having a “monopoly on the language” in the acknowledgement:
the land acknowledgement that umd put out (v whitewashed & uses language that deflects oppressor's responsibility) & how they're making student orgs use only this version sucks bc now theyre gonna also have a monopoly on the language we use when speaking up against the oppressors
— Fatima Younis (@fatimayounis_) September 16, 2022
Thank you! And yeah, I think that’s a really good idea (finding out abt what their process was). I like the language too but my main concern was just the vagueness around just saying we’re on Piscataway lane rather than also acknowledging how they were forced off it/the genocide
— Fatima Younis (@fatimayounis_) September 17, 2022
IMAGES: TORWAISTUDIO/Shutterstock.com; U. Maryland screencap