Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Race, Migration, & Indigeneity

The inter- and multidisciplinary field of Race, Migration, & Indigeneity considers the ways in which race interweaves with historical and contemporary formations of identity

Introduction

This guide is meant to orient you to the conversation around land acknowledgments in universities and other cultural institutions, and provide resources to help you better understand the history and impact of this practice.

Ultimately, a land acknowledgment is not only a recognition, it is also a commitment (and an ongoing one). The resources we have curated here will help you better understand how to engage in a thoughtful practice of acknowledgement and recognition, of the land and the communities who have continuously cared for our world across time, while also challenging you to engage more deeply with Indigenous experiences and decolonial perspectives.

"Land is more than the diaphanousness of inhabited memories; Land is spiritual, emotional, and relational; Land is experiential, (re)membered, and storied; Land is consciousness—Land is sentient. Land refers to the ways we honor and respect her as a sentient and conscious being. Therefore, in acknowledgment of the fundamental being of Land I always capitalize Land. I have come to know Land both as a fundamental sentient being and as a philosophical construct."
– Sandra Styres (Kanien'kehá:ka) from "Literacies of Land: Decolonizing Narratives, Storying, and Literature" (in Indigenous and Decolonizing Studies in Education)

Land Acknowledgment

Indiana University and the city of Bloomington occupy lands of enduring historical and cultural significance, and that for some was, is, and will always be home, to a number of Indigenous groups, including the myaamiaki (Miami)Lënape (Delaware)saawanwa (Shawnee), kiikaapoa (Kickapoo), and Neshnabé/Bodwéwadmik (Potawatomi) peoples. We honor and acknowledge the ancestral and contemporary caretakers of this place, as well as our nonhuman spirits, elders, and guides, offer gratitude for being held and nourished by the land, and recognize the inherent sovereignty and resilience of all Native communities who have survived and still thrive to this day on Turtle Island in spite of the systemic subjugation, dispossession, and genocide that constitute the ongoing reality of settler-colonialism.

We encourage all, settlers and guests alike, to look beyond acknowledgement and engage with local Indigenous communities while also cultivating thoughtful relations of reciprocity with the sacred land you live on, as well as the many vibrant beings with whom you share it. 
 

"Indigenize Indiana" logo from the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center

An Invitation toward Movement and Reflection

As you are learning more about the land and Indigenous communities, and perhaps in the process of crafting your own territorial/land acknowledgments, here are some ideas for reorienting towards place and these communities, wherever you are in time and space:

  • Know where you are - If you are a settler on Turtle Island, or another place that was occupied by colonizers, do you know whose land are you on? Do you know what communities used to live and thrive on this land? You can use tools like Native Land to find out; remember that a land acknowledgment is both about acknowledging Indigenous people and cultivating a relationship with land and place
  • Learn the history of this place - As you come into more knowledge, take a moment to reflect with humility on what you've been taught about the land you live on and the history of that place and the people who once lived there, and perhaps still do. You can use some of the resources below, as well as primary source databases, to learn more
  • Engage with Indigenous stories and communities - Once you've engaged in this reflective practice, which is an ongoing process without a necessary end point, do some research about the people and communities who were (or are) indigenous to that place. Find out where they are now (where they were displaced to), and get to know their stories, histories, and experiences. You might find books, articles, or other media (such as music and films) by creators and artists from these communities, learn about their cultural events and traditions, and slowly develop a relationship with them in the present
  • Listen and act - Along the way, and as these connections deepen, listen and pay attention to what your Native neighbors, colleagues, and friends are asking of you, their settler neighbors and the descendants of colonizers. Open yourself to supporting them through actions, solidarity work, organizing, and consciousness raising. What do they need from you? What political requests do Indigenous people have that haven't been met? Were there treaties or other agreements made to them that weren’t upheld? How can you commit to and renew those commitments with yourself and in your communities?
  • Stay in the process and stay open - Offer support when and how you can, based on and being led by Indigenous people, organizations, and communities. Continue learning and unlearning. Stay open and keep caring. And when you're ready, go deeper: there is much we can learn from our nonhuman (animal, plant, fungal, and beyond) companions as well

For more support with this work and process, please see some of the resources we've collected below.

Acknowledgment Resources

If you'd to learn more about the practice and history of indigenous land acknowledgments, consult the various resources listed in this guide. Here are a few entry points:

On the history of Indigenous communities in the state of Indiana:

Once you're ready to begin crafting a land or territorial acknowledgment, these resources can help guide you:

Articles & Essays

Interviews

Panels/Discussions

Scholarly Articles

To learn more about the tribes, nations, and communities with ties to this land colonially known as the state of Indiana, check out their websites and consider supporting them in an ongoing way however you can:

Myaamiaki (Miami)

Lënape (Delaware)

Saawanwa (Shawnee)

Kiikaapoa (Kickapoo)

Neshnabé/Bodwéwadmik (Potawatomi)

Indigenous-led organizations and movements to learn about and listen to:

Suggestions for Indigenous organizations and projects to support and engage with:

Native organizations and other relevant institutions in Indiana:

Recommended Local Indigenous Resources

The resources gathered here are meant to continue pushing members of the Indiana University community beyond land acknowledgments, and to approach this work with humility and engage with the experiences and perspectives of Indigenous people, particularly the myaamiaki (Miami)Lënape (Delaware)saawanwa (Shawnee), Neshnabé/Bodwéwadmik (Potawatomi), and kiikaapoa (Kickapoo) peoples, in their own voices. Our goal is to amplify the stories, poetry, artwork, film, and resources created by members of these communities to helps all of us, especially settlers and guests on this land, to become more self-aware and accountable. 

We've also included a selection of foundational works of Indigenous history and culture, as well as a brief overview of recommended works by non-Native creators about these groups with roots in this place.

About the Playlist
This mix features artists from the tribes and communities recognized by IU as past, present, and future caretakers of the land this institution occupies. A work in progress, we welcome suggestions for artists from these groups for inclusion.

Note: To enjoy the playlist in full, click on the white Spotify icon in the upper-right corner of the playlist, and press the "like" (♡) button in the application to save.

Foundational resources by Native creators and artists relevant to Indigenous history, culture, and experience, from outside of the five nations, tribes, and groups we recognize and acknowledge as connected to this land. If you are just getting started on learning about Indigeneity, this is a good place to begin exploring

Tribal Resources

aacimotaatiiyankwi.org (A Myaamia Community Blog)

Blog Post Examples:

Kasberg, B. (2021). Reimagining tthe Myaamia Storytelling Tradition: On Dungeons & Dragons & Diaspora. Belt Magazine. 

Miami University's Myaamia Center & The Myaamia Center's YouTube channel

Suggested Videos:

Mahkihkiwa: Myaamia Ethnobotanical Database


Books


Film


Journal Articles:


Visual Arts


Visual Arts


Visual Arts


Films


Visual Arts

Visual Arts

Recommended media by non-Native authors about the myaamiaki, Lënape, saawanwa, Bodwéwadmik, and kiikaapoa.

Books

General


Myaamiaki


Lënape


Saawanwa


Bodwéwadmik


Kiikaapoa


Film

Relevant Library Guides & Resources

If you'd like to engage more deeply with Indigenous history, worldviews, stories, and experiences, we have a number of resources that will expand your perspective on Indigenous people and communities.

  • Indigenous Heritage & History Month (Media Studies) - selection of resources, including literature, films, podcasts, among others, celebrating Indigenous cultures and communities 
  • The Sounds of Indigenous Heritage & History Month (Media Studies) - playlist of Indigenous musicians across time and genre, from musical forms dating back hundreds of years to iterations of much more recently emerged genres like hip hop, with a comprehensive write-up about the music and artists included and a selection of resources about contemporary Indigenous music
  • Two-Spirit & Indigenous LGBTQIA Peoples (Gender Studies) - feature on two-spirit and LGBTQIA identity within Indigenous communities, with recommendations of films, literature, and scholarly publications on this topic
  • Indigenous Philosophies & Worldviews (Philosophy) - resource on Indigenous philosophies and philosophers, representing an alternative to the frequently reinforced Eurocentricity of philosophy as a profession and bringing the thought and intellectual traditions of indigenous thinkers to the fore
  • First Nations / Native American Heritage Month Streaming and DVD Resources (Media Services) - comprehensive listing of physical and streaming titles featuring Native American representation, all available through IU Libraries
  • Youth Materials on American Indian & Indigenous Identity (Education Library) - recommended reading materials for children and young adults from the IU Bloomington Education Library's collections