Metropolitan State University acknowledges that we are on the unceeded lands of the Dakota and Anishinaabe peoples. Just twelve miles away from Metropolitan State University, the Minnesota River joins the Mississippi River at a place called Bdote, the place “where two waters come together” in Dakota. Bdote, and the bluff land surrounding Metro State, is an especially sacred site, a spiritual and physical place of creation for indigenous peoples of Minnesota.
We encourage each of us who are settlers on or visitors to this land to become familiar with the Dakota and Anishinaabe peoples, and their vibrant lives and work. We strive to interrupt the legacy of colonialism and indigenous erasure by supporting efforts to reunite and restore indigenous peoples to the land. This is the definition of landback, and the reason we do land acknowledgement practice.
The legacy of colonialism and occupation is ongoing and actively harming Native American and Indigenous communities. Colonizers and occupiers, including institutions of higher education, continue to uphold the genocide, ethnic cleansing, stolen land, and forced removal of Indigenous peoples.
Acknowledging and honoring the space we occupy is central to our vision of building anti-racist learning and work environments.
In January 2021, President Arthur convened a committee to study land acknolwedgment statements and recommend policies and practices. The committee held listening sessions with the university's American Indian Advisory Council and VOICES, the American Indian student association.
After consultation with the Native Governance Center and the Wakáŋ Tipi Center, the committee drafted the university's core land acknowledgment statement and developed a resource guide and action steps.
Recommendations from Metro's Native American communities
- Honor the local land and tell the stories of this land
- Acknowledge the land across campus settings and spaces
- Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk: land acknowledgement must include resources allocated to support the Native American community
Metro State recognizes that practicing land acknowledgment is an ongoing and continual project. In addition to acknowledging the land when the community gathers for public events and convenings, we also strive to practice land acknowledgment in coursework syllabi, and in collaborative work spaces.
We invite all community members to practice land ackowledgment as part of our praxis of creating an anti-racist learning community. Ideally, learning community leaders can model this practice by reading the statement and sharing resources. Leaders should:
- Avoid asking Indigenous and Native American community members to perform the labor of land ackowledgment.
- Share core land acknowledgement statement at community convenings, in event materials, and learning community standards.
- Implement action steps that reflect the theme and focus of your event or gathering. For example, instructors could include indigenous art and scholarship from their fields in course materials, and provide avenues for service and reparations to Indigenous communities.
- Be mindful of tone and placement in event proceedings.
- Avoid a "one-and-done" approach: be creative about ways to consistently acknowledge and celebrate indigeneity in your course or program.
- Build real, reciprocal relationships with Indigenous people and communities.
- Scholarship/stipend/grant for students who are attending college on their ancestral lands.
- Offering the use of our facilities without cost to Native & Indigenous groups
- Building a deeply reciprocal relationship with Wakáŋ Tipi Center, an east side Saint Paul Native-led non-profit
- Support and grow Metro’s American Indian Advisory Council, the Native Circle space, and student organization VOICES.
- Increase representation of American Indian employees within the university.
- Creation of articulation agreements with Minnesota's four tribal colleges
- Ongoing discussions with tribal college presidents about how we could deliver baccalaureate education for their students and communities