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Monday, September 25, 2023

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A puddle reflects SDSU's Hepner Hall. A puddle reflects SDSU's Hepner Hall.

Land Acknowledgement Statement Remains Part of SDSU

While the SDSU Kumeyaay Land Acknowledgement is not connected to university policy, it remains an important statement respecting Native and Indigenous peoples.
By Lainie Fraser

San Diego State University remains committed to honoring and respecting the land the campus resides on through the SDSU Kumeyaay Land Acknowledgement.

The land acknowledgment formally recognizes that SDSU resides on land not officially ceded, and that has been home to the Kumeyaay people for more than 10,000 years. It shows both gratitude and appreciation for the people the land originally belonged to and encourages our campus community to become more aware of Indigenous and Native peoples.

“The Land Acknowledgement is a teaching tool, to bring awareness to the people of San Diego of the history of this land, so that the Kumeyaay people will never be forgotten,” said Jacob Alvarado Waipuk, chair of Tribal Relations and SDSU Tribal Liaison.
In 2019, the University Senate approved a resolution to acknowledge Native and Indigenous people. That resolution created the acknowledgment statement composed by Michael Connolly Miskwish (Campo Band of Mission Indians), a Kumeyaay historian and researcher and lecturer of American Indian Studies at SDSU, in consultation with Kumeyaay elders and leaders.

“Though the formal statement is not university policy and is not a faculty requirement, the acknowledgment has and continues to honor and respect Indigenous peoples and their connections to the land, while also noting that our university resides on Kumeyaay land,” said J. Luke Wood, vice president for Student Affairs and Campus Diversity. 
Such statements have been adopted by universities across the nation, including at all other universities in San Diego. The full and abbreviated versions of the acknowledgment are available online.

The formal SDSU Kumeyaay Land Acknowledgement remains part of ceremonial introductions at key campus events, and is also presented on numerous university pages and in the official SDSU email signature. 

The land acknowledgment exemplifies the university’s commitment to recruiting and retaining American Indian students and to nurturing positive relationships with Kumeyaay people. It is the representation of the university’s commitment to recognizing the contributions the Kumeyaay and other Native and Indigenous peoples have made to our worlds and the campus’ unwavering commitment to a future that is inclusive of their histories. 

SDSU introduced the Native Resource Center offering academic, social, and cultural resources to Native and Indigenous students in 2019. 

The university offers acknowledgment plaques as a way for campus community members to show their support for Native and Indigenous peoples. Those interested in receiving a plaque can contact Nicole Belisle.