Land Acknowledgment Statement
The land on which Drexel University stands is Lenape land, and we pay respect and honor to the caretakers of this land, from time immemorial until now, and into the future. We openly recognize the Lenape Indian tribe as the original inhabitants of eastern Pennsylvania. Acknowledging this history is consistent with the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Drexel recognizes the historical links between the land on which the University sits and the Lenape peoples. We honor and respect the enduring relationship that exists between these peoples and nations and this land. This land acknowledgment is one small act in the ongoing process of working to be in good relationship with the land and the people of the land.
How to Use the Land Acknowledgment Statement
Drexel University community members are encouraged to use this approved land acknowledgement at the beginning of events, including commencement ceremonies, departmental retreats, Drexel-sponsored conferences and large student or employee gatherings.
About Lenape Nation
Drexel University is on the traditional territory of the Lenape (Leh-NAH-pay) people, the original inhabitants of Delaware, New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania and Southern New York. For over 10,000 years they have been the caretakers of these regions and of the River of Human Beings (more commonly known as the Delaware River). The Lenape were the first tribe to sign a treaty with the United States and to have land set aside for them in New Jersey. Over a period of 250 years, many Lenape people were removed and dispersed throughout the country; some took refuge with other tribes, while others remained in their homeland to continue the traditions of their ancestors and revitalize their communities.
The Importance of Recognizing the Land
To recognize the Lenape land is an expression of gratitude and appreciation to those whose territory the University resides on, and a way of honoring the Indigenous peoples who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial. It is important to understand the long-standing history that has brought us to reside on the land, and to seek to understand our place within that history. Land acknowledgements do not exist in a past tense, or historical context: Colonialism is a current and ongoing process, and we need to build mindfulness of our present participation. It is also worth noting that acknowledging the land is Indigenous protocol. (Source: Know the Land Territories Campaign)
Best Practices: Using the Land Acknowledgment Statement
- The person giving the acknowledgement should be the host of the event or meeting themselves.
- Include a formal thank-you to the host nation whenever making a presentation or holding a meeting, whether or not Indigenous individuals are part of the meeting or gathering.
- A land acknowledgment is not something you "just do" before an event. Rather, it is a reflection process in which you build mindfulness and intention walking into whatever gathering you are having. It should be rooted in whose land you are honored to stand on and should guide how you move forward in both conversations and actions.
Note: Special thanks to Jessica Hervey, '20, for proposing, researching and championing this land acknowledgment statement.