We live and work on the unceded land of the Piscataway People. We ask you to join us in acknowledging the Piscataway community, their elders both past and present, as well as future generations. We also acknowledge that Johns Hopkins was founded upon the exclusions and erasures of many Indigenous peoples, including those on whose land this institution is located. This land was stolen from the Piscataway People through the direct and indirect violence of settler societies, colonialism, and genocide – historical processes of dispossession which are ongoing. We make this acknowledgement to honor Indigenous peoples and to disrupt our complacency as participants in and beneficiaries of colonial systems.
What is a Land Acknowledgement?
TRU is one of many organizations to have adopted a Land Acknowledgment. Such an acknowledgment recognizes and honors the indigenous peoples whose rich cultures and societies long predate the European forms of society that dominate our lives today.
More than a statement of respect and gratitude, however, this land acknowledgment is a way for us to remember that the history of this land is one of brutality and forced dispossession. In the United States, the colonial project that began with Columbus’ arrival on foreign land has been so thorough that most of us forget that we live and work on lands that were stolen from indigenous people, frequently through violence and duplicity. This erasure of the violent history of American colonization and the indigenous connection and claim to this land are a consequence of “settler colonialism,” in which mostly European settlers attempted to replace the indigenous societies that predated them, displacing their history with narratives centered on European values and protagonist, and omitting their own violent crimes.
Universities are public institutions of knowledge. Faculty members and graduate students at Hopkins and other universities, through our scholarship in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Policy, often weigh heavily in developing and spreading our collective narrative, and our scholarship in the Natural Sciences often takes advantage of Indigenous land and resources. It is our responsibility as scholars and researchers to ensure that this narrative helps repair our collective memory of America’s violent colonial history. Making this acknowledgment is a first, modest step in this direction. It is part of TRU’s broader mission of social justice at Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore, and in Maryland, and represents our commitment to recognizing and building solidarity with local communities and victims of historical and current oppression.