An Inclusive Acknowledgement of People and Place
The USDAC - U.S. Department of Arts and Culture is a people-driven culture and art activist organization achieving community and cohesion through salons, actions, initiatives and offerings of resolution. Their #HonorNativeLand page includes a guide and a call to acknowledgement.
It is important that we be sure to model an opening acknowledgement at our public events like convocation, commencement, conferences held on campus, etc. that has become standard across Canada at all universities and increasingly in the U.S., and particularly appropriate for our situation here at Central. Possible wording might be:
"We would first like to acknowledge that we are here on the beautiful ancestral lands of the Anishinaabe people who remain our ongoing neighbors, and in the proud spirit of collaboration and celebration say, Boozhu and welcome." (This incorporates what is often said at our sporting events.)
"We stand on the traditional lands of the Council of Three Fires, the Anishinaabe peoples, of whom the traditional Saginaw Chippewa nation is one."
"Today we are here on the beautiful lands maintained for generations by the Anishinaabe people, the indigenous inhabitants of Michigan with whom we continue to partner today here at Central Michigan University."
"Here on Turtle Island, our precious earth, this beautiful land of Michigan, cherished and maintained for generations by the Anishinaabe people, we acknowledge their stewardship and our contemporary partnership with our neighbors and partners, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and Central Michigan University."
Acknowledging Place, Honoring a People
CMU has used the following land acknowledgement to welcome incoming students at orientation and at Leadership Safari:
"We wish to recognize the Anishinaabe people whose traditional land we are gathered upon today and the land on which the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe have resided on for over 200 years. To recognize the land is an expression of gratitude and appreciation to those whose territory you reside on, and a way of honoring the Indigenous people who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial (existing since beyond the reach of memory). It is important to understand the long-standing history that has brought us to reside on the land, and to seek to understand our place within that history."
We encourage you to learn with our Office of Native American Programs here on campus (Facebook.com/CMUNativeAmericanPrograms).
If you find yourself outside of Mount Pleasant, Michigan and want to know who to acknowledge, this map by Native-Land.ca may be of help.
You may formulate your own, incorporating the essential elements in an opening acknowledgement with some specificity and eloquence that is one sentence.
Simply adding a "chi Miigwech" (pronounced: chee meg-wich; meaning: big thank you or thank you very much) in the closing thank you is a nice reinforcement of the acknowledgement at the close of the event, with no other additional phrase.