In the WVU Honors College, we know that to understand ourselves, we must recognize the complexities of history. West Virginia University, with its statewide institutional presence, resides on land that includes ancestral territories of the Shawnee, Lenape (also known as the Delaware), the Cherokee, the Haudenosaunee (also known as the Iroquois Six Nations, including the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk, and Tuscarora), and many other Indigenous peoples.
Furthermore, the sale of land tracts from the Wahzhazhe (or Osage), Ojibwe (also called Chippewa), Menominee, Kaw, Dakota (Wahpeton, Sisseton, Medewakanton, and Wahpekuta bands), and 29 other tribes helped to fund the establishment of West Virginia University as a land grant institution.
In acknowledging this, we honor those Indigenous nations whose territories we are living on and working in, and those whose lands helped fund the creation of our university. Indigenous peoples have been living in these lands, including the place currently known as West Virginia, since time immemorial.
As a community of scholars, we in the Honors College challenge each other to critically engage in conversations to learn more about our university, ourselves, and others. It is important that we understand both the context that has brought our university community to reside on this land, and our place within this long history. We also recognize that colonialism is an ongoing process, and as scholars seeking truth and understanding, we need to be mindful of our present participation in this process.
Adapted from the WVU Native American Studies Land Acknowledgement with input from the WVU Native American Studies Program Committee.
To learn more, visit the Native American Studies Program website.