Land Acknowledgement

Colorado College is located within the unceded territory of the Ute Peoples. The earliest documented peoples also include the Apache, Arapaho, Comanche, and Cheyenne. An extended list of tribes with a legacy of occupation in Colorado is included here: Colorado Tribal Acknowledgement List.

What is the purpose of a Land Acknowledgement?

A Land Acknowledgement is a statement identifying the indigenous peoples, nations, and histories within an area. However, land acknowledgments can become empty gestures rather than powerful declarations of recognition. We recommend researching, contextualizing, and examining the purpose of an acknowledgment when engaging in this practice. In addition to naming Indigenous territories and explaining why the acknowledgment matters, these statements can address Indigenous rights within the context of the specific event or gathering.

The list of resource links (to the right) provides guides and information on writing a land acknowledgment as well as a mapping resource for identifying indigenous communities throughout North America.

We have also included a number of statements from indigenous community members at CC (below) in order to show the breadth of meaning and perspective when acknowledging a region's first peoples, nations, and history.

What does Land Acknowledgement mean to you?

"Before we can talk about equity, diversity, and inclusion, we must acknowledge that the land on which we learn, teach, live, and grow is the traditional and unceded territory of the Ute Peoples. We, the Indigenous Communities of Colorado College and Colorado Springs, pay our respect to Elders past, present, and future, and to those who have stewarded this land throughout the generations. We also acknowledge that academic institutions (indeed the nation-state itself) were founded upon and continue to enact exclusions and erasures of Indigenous Peoples. This acknowledgment demonstrates a commitment to beginning/continuing the process of working to dismantle ongoing legacies of settler colonialism, and to recognize the hundreds of Indigenous Nations who continue to resist, live, and uphold their sacred relations across their lands." - Dwanna McKay

"An acknowledgment, any type of acknowledgment, is more than identifying or recognizing someone or something. Acknowledging is also an act of honoring, blessing, celebrating, and thanking as well. There's a responsibility inherent in acknowledging another: to acknowledge is to recognize one's own positionality and to accept what that means for today and tomorrow as well as the past. Land acknowledgments are moments of acceptance--an acceptance that doesn't just happen in the mind or heart but is informed by and demonstrated by all we are and all we do. We accept that the land has long-held indigenous languages, ideas, bodies, creations, and movements and we don't just listen for echoes of that past, but we reflect on what it means for the land to still hold those languages and peoples today. When we acknowledge the land and first peoples, we also honor time-and that cruel and beautiful way the past is never truly in the past, but carries forward to today, to right now. Through thoughtful and purposeful acknowledgments we begin to unravel the narrative of settler colonialism and dismantle the structures that have kept that narrative at the forefront of not only the land's history but our day to day engagement with the world around and within us." - Natanya Ann Pulley

"Indigenous land acknowledgments are just a small step towards empowering Indigenous communities and returning the narrative back to the original landowners of the space. To me, it means that we acknowledge that the land has been taken. It also empowers living indigenous communities that have been thought to not exist! We are still here!" - Nizhooni Hurd

Report an issue - Last updated: 05/13/2022