Land Acknowledgement

The UMB Office of Sustainability acknowledges Indigenous peoples' past, present, and future as the rightful and traditional protectors and caretakers of their native lands in what is known today as the United States. We recognize that as an institutional part of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, our office’s digital and nondigital spaces participate in the historical, ongoing, and violent legacy of land theft initiated by white, colonialist settlers who first invaded the Chesapeake region in the 17th century. Specifically, the Office of Sustainability operates on the ancestral lands of Iroquoian-speaking Susquehannock peoples and Algonquian-speaking peoples of the Piscataway Conoy Tribe, including Cedarville Band of Piscataway Conoy (subtribe), and Piscataway Indian Nation, all of whom shared this area through their relations and whose descendants are thriving and resisting settler occupation.

We also acknowledge our complicity in the historical, deliberate, and ongoing attempts by settlers and their systems of oppression to appropriate Indigenous cultures, ignore or break treaties with sovereign Native Nations, and perpetrate and obfuscate racist and violent acts of political, social, economic, and ecological white supremacy. In the 1666 Articles of Peace and Amity, a treaty between the English colony of Maryland and the 12 Eastern Algonquian-speaking Indigenous Nations, the enshrined rights of the Piscataway People were reneged by the descending powers of colonialism. The Piscataway People were not considered citizens or able to own land on the land of their ancestors until the 1920s. The Piscataway People were not allowed to exercise their traditional practices, have ensured access to sites, possess sacred objects, or have the freedom to worship through ceremonial rites and customs until the 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act. Despite not owning any tribal land, the Piscataway Citizens still must pay property taxes on the stolen land of their ancestors. These are simply a few examples of the grievances towards the Piscataway People by settlers over hundreds of years. We acknowledge the fundamental role that these colonialist acts have and continue to play in the historical and contemporary disenfranchisement, surveillance, and harm of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

Recognizing these intertwining injustices, this land acknowledgment serves as an opening to contemplate the continuing resistance to colonial indoctrination through various Indigenous and Black movements for identity, freedom, and self-determination. We commit our sites of learning to end anti-Black racism, modern colonialism, and white supremacy and to creating equitable relations that honor and heal communities and the land. In December 2020, the Council of the District of Columbia voted to honor the language of the 1666 Articles of Peace and Amity by guaranteeing fishing rights to the Piscataway People through free fishing licenses. This is one recent example of restoration, but there is much more that needs to be done. Here on the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, our Intercultural Center will be hosting a series of events in honor of the Indigenous People of this land. We advocate for ecological, relational, social, and political restoration and healing through the return of Native and Indigenous lands to their sovereign, rightful stewards.

Credits: This land acknowledgement was drawn from the University of Maryland, Baltimore Writing Center’s land acknowledgement with valuable input from Mr. Kyle Swann and other members of the Piscataway Conoy Tribe.

Local Indigenous History Resources 

To learn more about local Indigenous history and contemporary affairs, including those of Lumbee and Cherokee communities, consider these resources:

National Resources 

To engage with national Indigenous issues and organizations, see these resources:

Land Acknowledgement Guidance 

For guidance for creating a land acknowledgment, view these resources: