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Land Acknowledgement

SMSU Land Acknowledgement Statement

Southwest Minnesota State University sits on the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary lands of the Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota people, collectively known as the Oceti Sakowin, Seven Council Fires. We acknowledge and recognize our sovereign neighbors from the Pezihutazizi Otunwe (Yellow Medicine Village) and Cansayapi Otunwe (Village Where They Mark The Trees Red), and all indigenous people who continue to call this area home. SMSU resides on land ceded by the Dakota Nation to the United States in the disputed 1851 Treaty of Traverse des Sioux. This land acknowledgement affirms these nations’ sovereignty and history, while seeking to hold SMSU accountable to the needs of American Indian and Indigenous people.

What is a Land Acknowledgement?

According to the Native Governance Center (2021), “Indigenous land acknowledgment is an effort to recognize the Indigenous past, present, and future of a particular location and to understand our own place within that relationship. Usually, land acknowledgments take the form of written and/or verbal statements. It’s becoming more and more common to see land acknowledgments delivered at conferences, community gatherings, places of worship, concerts and festivals, etc.”

Why is SMSU Adopting a Land Acknowledgement?

The land where Southwest Minnesota State University is located was ceded to the United States government in the 1851 Treaty of Traverse des Sioux. The terms of the treaty were never fulfilled and the Dakota were forced to relocate outside of Minnesota. Instead of the original land allocated by treaty, two smaller reservation communities are located within an hour’s drive of SMSU’s campus in Marshall. In addition, treaty law recognizes the Lower Sioux Indian Community and the Upper Sioux Community as sovereign nations with a right to self-governance and self-determination. This land acknowledgment should help bring awareness to campus of these communities and the difficult history of the region.

How Should SMSU’s Land Acknowledgement Be Used?

The Land Acknowledgement should be read by an SMSU campus member at official campus events and ceremonies. It should be presented solemnly. Any campus member can use the Land Acknowledgment to open an event or a class at the start of a semester.

Dakota Word Pronunciation Guide

Oceti: Oh Cheh Tee
Sakowin: Shah Koe Wee
Pezihutazizi: Peh Zhoo Tah Zee Zee
Otunwe: Oh Toon Weh
Cansayapi: Chan Shah Yah Pee

SMSU · SMSU-Land-Acknowledgement-Statement

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