USU Finalizes Land Acknowledgement Statements Including One For Ute Tribe
By Kristin Forbis, Jan 10, 2022
Utah State University has announced that the land acknowledgement statements recognizing the lands of Indigenous peoples have been finalized and the Ute Indian Tribe is among the tribes acknowledged. The document’s introduction states, “As a land-grant institution, Utah State University campuses and centers reside and operate on the territories of the eight tribes of Utah, who have been living, working, and residing on this land from time immemorial… In offering this land acknowledgment, we affirm Indigenous self-governance history, experiences, and resiliency of the Native people who are still here today.” USU President Noelle Cockett announced in March of 2021 the formation of a working group to create the statements chaired by Marilyn Cuch, a secondary education lecturer on USU’s Uintah Basin campus. “It’s important to share our Utah Tribal nations are alive and maintain very resilient communities within the state of Utah,” shares Cuch, of the Hunkpapa Lakota. “And it's even more essential for people to understand that we are not relics, but that we are self-governing tribal entities and nations within the United States.” Land acknowledgment statements need to be more than just a statement. “It is an opening for individuals to learn more about Indigenous tribes in Utah and elsewhere in the United States,” explains Cuch. “Whether it's doing a presentation or literally teaching students about the tribal people, it's inviting our own tribes and the constituents that would be impacted in our tribal nations to be brought forth and allowing for their voices and perspectives to be heard.” President Cockett has emphasized the importance of this effort as USU is a land-grant institution with campuses throughout the state. To read the statements, including the statement acknowledging the Ute Indian Tribe, visit www.usu.edu.