Brown adopts land acknowledgment, additional commitments to Native and Indigenous communities

The acknowledgment is part of a set of commitments aimed at building a better understanding of the relationship between the University community, Indigenous peoples of the region and the land on which Brown is situated.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] – Brown University has established an official land acknowledgment that recognizes and honors its location within the ancestral homelands of the Narragansett Indian Tribe. The acknowledgment is one of five commitments Brown is making to build understanding of the relationship between its campus community, Indigenous peoples of the region and the land on which Brown is situated.

University President Christina H. Paxson shared the land acknowledgment in a letter to the Brown community on Tuesday, May 24. The acknowledgment reads:

“Brown University is located in Providence, Rhode Island, on lands that are within the ancestral homelands of the Narragansett Indian Tribe. We acknowledge that beginning with colonization and continuing for centuries the Narragansett Indian Tribe have been dispossessed of most of their ancestral lands in Rhode Island by the actions of individuals and institutions. We acknowledge our responsibility to understand and respond to those actions. The Narragansett Indian Tribe, whose ancestors stewarded these lands with great care, continues as a sovereign nation today. We commit to working together to honor our past and build our future with truth.”

Paxson also outlined a set of commitments that arose from a year-long exploration by a Land Acknowledgment Working Group composed of University students, faculty and administrators, including members of the Narragansett Indian Tribe. She wrote that acknowledging the complex, painful history of the land on which Brown sits is an important first step in what will be a years-long process of reckoning with the past and building relationships with the Narragansett Indian Tribe and other Native and Indigenous communities.

“Committing to a set of actions to educate our community and support broader engagement with the tribe and other Indigenous peoples of the region is critical to understanding our shared history and developing strong relationships,” Paxson wrote. “The deep reflection and historical context that accompanied the LAWG recommendations laid the groundwork for the important work we’ll do as a community.”

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