The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater has chosen to formally recognize and honor the lands on which it resides. The University acknowledges that numerous Native peoples were stewards of these lands for thousands of years, and university leadership wishes to respect the sacredness of these lands.
The Land Acknowledgement Statement was originally conceived by Dr. Anthony Gulig, Associate Professor of History in the College of Letters and Sciences and Cody Wing, former president of the Native American Cultural Awareness Association. These individuals engaged the help of Dr. Kenny E. Yarbrough, Chief Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer to move the statement forward. Upon submitting a draft of the statement to the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, the statement received feedback and ultimately gained approval from the council and UW System as the official Land Acknowledgement Statement for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
The following statement may be read at any event to acknowledge the willingness of the University to honor the numerous Native peoples who occupied these lands:
“As We Gather”
As we gather here for (insert activity, i.e. commencement, meeting, etc.), we acknowledge that the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater exists today on the traditional lands of many Native people. We welcome the duty and opportunity to share stewardship of these lands.
While this State institution has a rich history, for thousands of years, this region, and these lands, were home to diverse Native peoples. In the knowledge and understanding of this history, we acknowledge that the land on which the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater now exists was and remains the historic and traditional territory of many Native peoples. The Ho-Chunk grew corn and gathered a living from these lands. The Potawatomi, then closely related to the Ojibwa and Odawa peoples, called this land home as well. We welcome and are honored, by the responsibility to be good stewards of these lands and good neighbors to all Wisconsin Indigenous populations. In concert with the Native American Cultural Awareness Association, Native Students, with faculty and staff, the University continues to explore durable and meaningful ways of acknowledging our relationship. We recognize these great Native nations and their respective sovereignties, and are thankful to be positioned in such prominent, historic, and meaningful landscapes, as we continue to provide educational opportunities for all whom the University serves.