Commitment to Indigenous Peoples & Communities
ESU’s Promising Practices
ESU's Commitment to Indigenous Peoples & Communities
If you would like to join the ESU Advancing Indigenous Presence Initiative, please fill out the following form.
How You Can Support Indigenous Peoples & Communities at ESU
Immediate Action Items
- Understand ongoing displacement and how that plays into land acknowledgment
- Advocate for, support, and hire Indigenous students, faculty, and staff
- Amplify the voices of our Indigenous students, faculty, staff, and colleagues
- Attend Indigenous educational and cultural opportunities
- Advocate for modifying ESU’s Strategic Plan (Goal for 5) to include Indigenous rights
- Collaborate with Indigenous student groups, organizations, and support services
- Ensure elimination of the use of Native mascots and branding at ESU, as well as educational misrepresentations in art, theater and literature, and develop plans for any visiting schools that still use Native mascots and branding
- Identify and restore repatriations for Indigenous artifacts within ESU’s possession
- Support the Kansas Advisory Council for Indigenous Education state effort for collecting accurate data on the number of Indigenous students within our schools
- Join ESU’s Advancing Indigenous Presence Initiative
- Contribute to the Advancing Indigenous Presence Scholarship Fund
Long-Term Action Items
- Learn how to build and maintain meaningful relationships with Native and Indigenous community members in and around Emporia, Kansas
- Provide faculty and staff professional development opportunities to better support Indigenous students and communities
- Prepare future educators in training at ESU with tools and resources to teach accurately and comprehensively about Native peoples and culture; past, present, and future
- Facilitate more accurate recounting of historical information within Kansas
- Collaborate with tribal colleges and universities for event programming
- Explore ways curriculum can prepare Native students to lead in their communities
- Ensure that Native students learn about their cultures and languages while at ESU
- Ensure education on the tribal citizenship process and about tribal government
- Facilitate reduced or free tuition rates for Indigenous students
- Collect accurate data to understand the presence of Indigenous students, faculty, staff, and alum on our campus
Evergreen Promising Practices
- Follow state recommendations for Indigenous education in Kansas (KANEA and Kansas Advisory Council for Indigenous Education)
- Support federal trust responsibilities related to Indigenous communities in Kansas
- Build reciprocal relationships with Native nations and practice co-governance
Emporia State University acknowledges that our campus resides on the homelands of several tribal nations, including the Kaw, Osage, Wyandotte, Pawnee, and Wichita peoples. We also value the lived experiences of other tribal nations in and near Emporia who continue to endure the effects of removal and forced migration through Kansas. We honor the continued rich culture of Indigenous land stewardship while affirming Indigenous sovereignty. We seek to understand how we can better support our Indigenous students and community members while building mindfulness around the ongoing effects of colonialism on stolen land. This statement serves as an educational opportunity for ESU and as an invitation for community restorative action. If you are interested in supporting Indigenous sovereignty or if you have information about Emporia's ongoing Indigenous history, please contact the ESU Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and consider joining our Advancing Indigenous Presence Initiative.
How to Use a Land Acknowledgment in Your Program or Event
It is important to the mission of advancing Indigenous presence on our campus and in our community that land acknowledgement information presented is as accurate as possible and that it is used in combination with the actionable items as in those listed above. If you need an abbreviated version to use for ESU purposes, please use the following as a minimum statement:
Emporia State University acknowledges that our campus resides on the homelands of several tribal nations, including the Kaw, Osage, Wyandotte, Pawnee, and Wichita peoples, among others. This statement serves as an educational opportunity for ESU and an invitation for community restorative action. If you are interested in supporting Indigenous sovereignty or if you have information about Emporia's ongoing Indigenous history, please contact the ESU Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Before Using This Land Acknowledgement, Consider
- Why is this acknowledgement happening?
- What are the ongoing impacts of colonialism here?
- How does this acknowledgement relate to the event or work I am doing?
- How else can I learn about the history of this territory?
- What is my relationship to this territory? How did I come to be here?
- Do I know my action plan to disrupt and dismantle colonialism, and increase Indigenous presence, in my department or office before I read this acknowledgment?
“If we think of territorial acknowledgments as sites of potential disruption, they can be transformative acts that to some extent undo Indigenous erasure. I believe this is true as long as these acknowledgments discomfit both those speaking and hearing the words. The fact of Indigenous presence should force non-Indigenous peoples to confront their own place on these lands.”
— Chelsea Vowel, Métis, Beyond Territorial Acknowledgements
What Is a Land Acknowledgement Statement?
A land acknowledgement statement is a commitment to continued community action for Indigenous sovereignty and serves as an educational tool. It is a disruption to ethnocentrism and meant to be uncomfortable to those who benefit from the systematic removal of Indigenous peoples. The above ESU land acknowledgement is a living document and a work in progress made possible by the ESU Advancing Indigenous Presence Initiative, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Office of Diversity Student Programs. This acknowledgement is designed to increase opportunities for continued learning about Emporia history, cultivate solidarity from ESU to stand with our Indigenous communities, and to cultivate commitment from ESU for restorative action. If you have feedback to make this statement or its mission more complete, or if you would like to join the ESU Advancing Indigenous Presence Initiative, then please fill out the following form. The AIPI welcomes students, community members, faculty, and staff: https://emporia.link/indigenouspresence
The Importance of Land Acknowledgement at ESU
ESU does not have a history of consistently speaking about the people of the land during meetings, presentations, commencements, or events.
- ESU is in direct benefit from colonized land dispossession, the painful history of Indigenous genocide, and forced removal of Indigenous peoples in Kansas.
- ESU is obligated by being in Emporia, Kansas to amplify Indigenous and Native voices and to facilitate the untold stories of the land.
- Indigenous and Native people are still here as our students, staff, faculty, and partners, who continue to thrive as learners, despite ongoing colonialism and oppression.
History of ESU’s Land Acknowledgement
In the fall of 2020, the ESU Office of Diversity Student Programs (DSP) recognized a gap in support services for ESU’s Indigenous and Native students. This concern was addressed by DSP researching our Registered Student Organization history to learn about our Indigenous student organizations of the past, as well as researching Emporia’s land history to formulate a land acknowledgement for DSP’s many diverse student programing events.
Within this process, a larger need was identified to better serve Indigenous students, faculty and staff campus wide, as well as build relationships with Indigenous community members of Emporia. The Advancing Indigenous Presence Initiative was developed out of the need to assess these issues and facilitate restorative action at ESU collaboratively. These efforts were supported by multiple ESU departments, community members, and ESU’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI).
Researching Emporia’s land history is an ongoing study. The full results of ESU’s ODEI land history research, starting in 2020, are available by request via firstname.lastname@example.org. We acknowledge the four-federally recognized tribes of Kansas, the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, the Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska and the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska. For clarification, the current ESU Land Acknowledgment speaks to Emporia’s land history specifically, rather than Kansas at large. As we currently understand, the peoples of the Osage Nation and Wyandotte Nation were the primary land caretakers and homesteaders in historic Emporia, while the peoples of the Pawnee Nation and Wichita Tribes were the primary land caretakers and homesteaders in prehistoric Emporia. We also understand that the peoples of the Kaw Nation continue to play an important role in land stewardship in, and around, the Emporia and Council Grove areas. ESU’s ODEI has worked with the Tribal Historic Preservation Officers of the Osage, Wyandotte, Pawnee, Wichita and Delaware peoples to gain this understanding.
We acknowledge that most of the authors of this document are non-native settlers. They have come to these promising practices committed to learning and to amplifying Native voices. However, there are innate power imbalances of non-native authors writing this statement within the function of colonialized higher education that cannot be ignored. The authors recognize that they do not have the lived experiences, the expertise, nor the authority to speak about Indigenous culture, matters, or sovereignty. Indigenous peoples have more robust understanding about this history and the effects of displacement, genocide, and cultural erasure. We welcome feedback and ongoing collaboration.
ESU Advancing Indigenous Presence Scholarship
Established in 2022 by the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at ESU, this fund was established for the purpose of providing scholarship support for members of a US Federally Recognized Tribe and enrolled as full-time, degree-seeking students at Emporia State University. All students who complete the Emporia State General Scholarship Application and who meet eligibility requirements will be considered for this scholarship.
Resources to Learn More
Indigenous Tribes & Nations Mentioned in Land Acknowledgment
Kaw Nation: https://kawnation.com
Osage Nation: https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov
Wyandotte Nation: https://wyandotte-nation.org
Pawnee Nation: https://pawneenation.org
Wichita Tribe: https://wichitatribe.com
Reparations, Actions, and Initiatives
KU Native American Initiatives: https://nativesuccess.ku.edu
KU Reparations Process: https://diversity.ku.edu/repatriation
Indigenous Education and Educational Practices
Land Acknowledgements and How to Use Them
Beyond Territorial Acknowledgments:
K-State Land Acknowledgment:
KANAE Land Acknowledgment Toolkit:
Turning Land Acknowledgements into Action...In a Good Way:
What's Wrong with Land Acknowledgments, and How to Make Them Better:
Guide to Acknowledging First Peoples and Traditional Territory:
This document was created in collaboration with the ESU Advancing Indigenous Presence Initiative; the ESU Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; the ESU Office of Diversity Student Programs; and the Wyandotte, Osage, Wichita, Pawnee, and Delaware Tribal Historic Preservation Offices. Colonialism is a current and ongoing process. Emporia State University’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion commits to maintaining this ever-changing guide.
Last updated: November 2022