Arcadia Works to Develop Land Acknowledgement Statement to Recognize Perseverance of Lenape People

By diprinziod | October 20, 2021

McCreery, Dr. Loury, DePaul, Dr. Guertin-Martin, Dr. McNeil, Day

Last summer, a group of Arcadia University faculty and staff attended the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity, where presenters paid homage to the Indigenous groups from their respective areas and offered workshops on Indigenous pedagogy in higher education. This resulted in Dr. Doreen Loury, assistant professor of Sociology/Anthropology/Criminal Justice and director of the Pan African Studies Program, and Dr. Favian Guertin-Martin, associate professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice and director of the Criminal Justice Program, asking Faculty Senate to create a task force to write a land acknowledgement statement and develop ways to educate the University community on the Lenape Peoples and other Indigenous communities. 

“The purpose of the land acknowledgement statement is to show respect and allow us an opportunity to honor the Lenape Peoples as the original caretakers of land,” said Dr. Guertin-Martin. “A land acknowledgement statement serves as a reminder of the Lenape Peoples, and recognize their resilience in the face of genocide, forced relocation, and other social ills associated with colonialism such as the use of Indian Boarding Schools. In a way, it guarantees that this university community does not forget about the Lenape People.”  

Dr. Guertin-Martin also noted that land acknowledgement statements have been used for centuries among indigenous communities. However, it wasn’t until recently that non-indigenous individuals have been using these statements to recognize Indigenous people as the original occupants of the land. 

The statement’s original draft was written by Dr. Kevin Revier, assistant professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, and Dr. Guertin-Martin. Task force members who helped to provide feedback and edit the statement include Dr. Loury; Dr. Angela McNeil, assistant vice president of Access, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Dr. Marc Brasof, associate professor of Education; Dr. Kate Bonin, associate professor of Modern Languages and Culture; Allyson McCreery MA, program coordinator for IPCR; and Monica Day, adjunct professor and liaison for the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Mentoring. 

On Sept. 30, Adam Waterbear DePaul, Tribal Council Member of the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania, visited Dr. Katherine Moore’s Cross-Cultural Psychology class to provide an Indigenous perspective on the topic. After DePaul’s lecture, he lunched with students and provided feedback on the Land Acknowledgement Statement that is being drafted by a group of faculty and staff, and to discuss the rich history of the Lenape peoples. 

The statement will be sent to the Faculty Senate for approval at the next open meeting and may require a vote by the entire faculty if it were to be added to the faculty handbook. Once approved, it will be shared with the entire University community.