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SRU’s land acknowledgment recognizes Indigenous people

Slippery Rock University has adopted a land acknowledgment statement that will be used by students, faculty, staff and visitors to recognize Indigenous land occupants of the area.

The statement, which recognizes communities including the Seneca, Erie, Lenni Lenape and Susquehannock, was developed with input from the Three Rivers Tribal Council in Pittsburgh, faculty, students from the First Nations Club and Joe Stahlman, a researcher and director of the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum in New York.

"The goal is that our land acknowledgment statement will be a signal to the groups in our area that we are ready to collaborate and form better partnerships (with Indigenous people)," Aksel Casson, an associate professor of anthropology and archaeology, said. "Western cultures, in general, have struggled with reconciling the past, even centuries later. Institutions that create land acknowledgments are recognizing that we are occupying land that might be unceded, given by treaty or the result of violence, but most certainly land that has a complicated past."

According to a press release, the statement may be spoken at the beginning of public gatherings or meetings, or published in event programs, syllabi or other documents.

The statement can be read at sru.edu/news.

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