We acknowledge that Illinois State University is located on the traditional lands of the Peoria, Kaskaskia, Piankashaw, Wea, Myaamia, Mascoutin, Odawa, Sauk, Mesquaki, Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Ojibwe, and Chickasaw Nations. These Native nations lost their ancestral lands through violent forced removals and broken treaties. The lands continue to carry the stories of these nations and their people who were the caretakers, just as the people continue to carry the stories of this land.
As members of a public settler colonial institution, we acknowledge our responsibility not only to understand this history but also to actively confront the ways in which colonial policies and thinking continue in our personal and professional lives. In the theatre, specifically, we recognize that this industry has been complicit and even instrumental in misrepresenting Indigenous people (both in its literature and on its stages) and in marginalizing Indigenous people and cultures. We commit to create change and progress.
We ask that you join us on that journey.
“In countries such as New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and among tribal nations in the U.S., it is commonplace, even policy, to open events and gatherings by acknowledging the traditional Indigenous inhabitants of that land…Acknowledgment by itself is a small gesture. It becomes meaningful when coupled with authentic relationships and informed action. But this beginning can be an opening to greater public consciousness of Native sovereignty and cultural rights, a step toward equitable relationship and reconciliation. Naming is an exercise in power. Who gets the right to name or be named? Whose stories are honored in a name? Whose are erased? Acknowledgment of traditional land is a public statement of the name of the traditional Native inhabitants of a place. It honors their historic relationship with the land…It is a simple, powerful way of showing respect and a step toward correcting the stories and practices that erase Indigenous people’s history and culture and toward inviting and honoring the truth. Imagine this practice widely adopted: imagine cultural venues, classrooms, conference settings, places of worship, sports stadiums, and town halls, acknowledging traditional lands. Millions would be exposed – many for the first time – to the names of the traditional inhabitants of the lands they are on, inspiring them to ongoing awareness and action.”