What is a Land Acknowledgement?

A land acknowledgement is a statement that recognizes the history and presence of Indigenous peoples and their enduring relationship to their traditional homelands. Land acknowledgements help create awareness of the cultural erasure of Indigenous peoples and the processes of colonization and subjugation that have contributed to that erasure.

The land acknowledgement used at UC Santa Cruz was developed in partnership with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band Chairman and the Amah Mutsun Relearning Program at the UCSC Arboretum.

 

“The land on which we gather is the unceded territory of the Awaswas-speaking Uypi Tribe. The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, comprised of the descendants of indigenous people taken to missions Santa Cruz and San Juan Bautista during Spanish colonization of the Central Coast, is today working hard to restore traditional stewardship practices on these lands and heal from historical trauma.”

 

While we are hosting campus events and classes remotely, please use the following land acknowledgement: 

“UC Santa Cruz is located on the unceded territory of the Awaswas-speaking Uypi Tribe. The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, comprised of the descendants of indigenous people taken to missions Santa Cruz and San Juan Bautista during Spanish colonization of the Central Coast, is today working hard to restore traditional stewardship practices on these lands and heal from historical trauma.” 

 

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Pronunciations of the tribes are:

  • Amah (Aaa-Ma)
  • Mutsun (Moot-sun)
  • Uypi (You-P)
  • Awaswas (Aaa-Was-Was)

Please be sure that the tribes names are pronounced correctly and that the entire acknowledgement is read carefully.

Click here to learn more about the official land acknowledgement for UC Santa Cruz. 

NOTE: It is not appropriate to create alternative statements, alter the acknowledgement or invent ceremonial rituals when reading the land acknowledgement.

 

Here is a video of Dr. Hernandez delivering UC Santa Cruz's land acknowledgement:


More about land acknowledgements from the Native Governance Center

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A Guide to Land Acknowledgements

Why is an Indigenous land acknowledgement important? 

“It is important to understand the longstanding history that has brought you to reside on the land, and to seek to understand your place within that history. Land acknowledgements do not exist in a past tense, or historical context: colonialism is a current ongoing process, and we need to build our mindfulness of our present participation.” Northwestern University

A land acknowledgment alone is not enough. It’s merely a starting point. Ask yourself: how do I plan to take action to support Indigenous communities?