Land Acknowledgment Statement

A Land Acknowledgment is a formal statement that recognizes and respects Native peoples as traditional guardians of lands and the enduring relationship that exists between Native peoples and their traditional territories. Our department partnered with an engaged student and a language specialist from the Peoria Nation of Oklahoma to create a modified version that better reflects the historical context among the allied Nations of the Illiniwek, the origin of our university's name, and how our land-grant mission charges us with a unique responsibility. 

ChBE Longer Version

We would like to begin today by recognizing that we are gathered on the lands of Indigenous peoples. The name of our University comes from the languages of the Illiniwek, the Illinois Confederation. The old Peoria word ilenweewa means “someone speaks the ordinary way” or “someone speaks the language.” French settlers who lived alongside the Illiniwek ultimately adapted ilenweewa into French as the word Illinois. 

This land was home to the Illiniwek nations of the Peoria, Kaskaskia, and Miami, merging with the Piankashaw and the Wea in 1854; as well as the Three Fires Council of the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi; the allied Meskwaki and Sauk; the Kickapoo; the Mascoutin; and the Chickasaw. These lands were the traditional territory of these Native Nations prior to their forced removal and continue to carry the stories of these Nations and their struggles for survival and identity.

As a land-grant institution, established through the Morrill Act of 1862, the University of Illinois has a particular responsibility to acknowledge the peoples of these lands, as well as the histories of dispossession that have allowed for the growth of this institution for over 150 years. We are also obligated to reflect on and actively address these histories and the role that this university has played in shaping them. This acknowledgment, and the centering of Native peoples, is a start as we move forward.

ChBE Shorter Version

We would like to begin today by recognizing that we are gathered on the lands of Indigenous peoples. The name of our university comes from the old Peoria word ilenweewa meaning “someone speaks the ordinary way” or “someone speaks the language,” which was adapted by French settlers.

Prior to their forced removal, this land was home to the nations of the Illiniwek, the Illinois Confederation, of the Peoria, Kaskaskia, Miami, Piankashaw, and Wea; as well as the Three Fires Council of the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi; the allied Meskwaki and Sauk; the Kickapoo; the Mascoutin; and the Chickasaw. 

As a land-grant institution, the University of Illinois has a responsibility to acknowledge the peoples of these lands, as well as the histories of dispossession that have allowed for the growth of this institution for over 150 years. This acknowledgment, and the centering of Native peoples, is a start as we move forward.

Campus Version

As a land-grant institution, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has a responsibility to acknowledge the historical context in which it exists. In order to remind ourselves and our community, we will begin this event with the following statement. We are currently on the lands of the Peoria, Kaskaskia, Piankashaw, Wea, Miami, Mascoutin, Odawa, Sauk, Meskwaki, Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Ojibwe, and Chickasaw Nations. It is necessary for us to acknowledge these Native Nations and for us to work with them as we move forward as an institution. Over the next 150 years, we will be a vibrant community inclusive of all our differences, with Native peoples at the core of our efforts.

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