At App State, we value the importance of a learning environment that is conducive to knowledge, respect, acceptance, understanding and global awareness.
We recognize it is important to develop a deeper understanding of the past relationship between our institution, Indigenous peoples and the land on which the university is built, as part of our continuing commitment to develop ways in which we support our Indigenous campus community.
In fall 2021, Chancellor Sheri Everts charged a working group led by then-Interim Chief Diversity Officer Jamie Parson to recommend ways in which we can commit to the success of Indigenous students, faculty and staff, including to develop recommendations about land acknowledgement at App State. The working group invited state and federally recognized tribes in the area, as well as several Indigenous community organizations, to provide feedback on recommendations for support, including the university’s land acknowledgement statement.
App State’s Land Acknowledgement Statement is based on the history of the local area. The statement was reviewed by our Indigenous campus community, vetted by surrounding Indigenous community leaders and approved by Chancellor Everts in spring 2022.
App State’s Land Acknowledgement Statement
Appalachian State University acknowledges the Indigenous peoples who are the original inhabitants of the lands on which our campus is located. The Cherokee, Catawba and other Indigenous peoples left their mark as hunters, healers, traders, travelers, farmers and villagers long before the university was established. Today, descendants of these communities, which include citizens of the eight tribal nations in North Carolina as well as others, live and work in this region — an area with settler-colonial policies including those that attempt to disenfranchise, remove and eradicate Indigenous people and their way of life.
This acknowledgment is aligned with our university’s core value of creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive community. We embrace our institutional responsibility to recognize the people, culture and history that compose our App State community. We acknowledge and honor the diverse Indigenous peoples connected to this land and share in their stewardship of these mountains and waters. We fully recognize, support and advocate for the sovereign rights of all of North Carolina’s eight tribal nations which include the Coharie, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the Haliwa-Saponi, the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, the Meherrin, the Sappony, the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation and the Waccamaw Siouan. We understand the historical connection our university has with these Indigenous communities and commit to creating spaces for collaboration and strengthening support structures to build a more equitable future together.
Appalachian State University acknowledges the Indigenous peoples who are the original inhabitants of the lands on which our campus is located. The Cherokee, Catawba and other Indigenous peoples left their mark as hunters, healers, traders, travelers, farmers and villagers long before the university was established. We understand the historical connection our university has with these Indigenous communities and commit to creating spaces for collaboration and strengthening support structures to build a more equitable future together.
Guidance for using App State’s Land Acknowledgement Statement
The university’s official Land Acknowledgement Statement may be displayed on written materials, including course syllabi and conference programs. It may also be read before events, presentations, panels, lectures or discussions. In addition to reading the Land Acknowledgement Statement, consider linking to the resources provided by the Indigenous Appalachian Learning Community and examine ways your class, program or initiative can support the Acknowledgment to Action Goals below.
The abbreviated version of the university’s official Land Acknowledgement Statement may be used in less formal applications, such as in meeting agendas.
- Ensure you are spelling and pronouncing the names of the tribes correctly.
- Cherokee [Cher-uh-kee]
- Catawba [Kuh-taw-buh]
- When reading the Land Acknowledgment Statement at events:
- Use the full version rather than the abbreviated version.
- At virtual events, acknowledge that others may be on other territory.
- Using the Land Acknowledgement Statement is not an opportunity or invitation to identify Indigenous people in the room. If you wish to acknowledge Indigenous people at your event, it should be done within the context of that event and with permission.
Acknowledgement to Action Goals
- Charge a land acknowledgement working and history group to consider the Indigenous peoples connected to the Hickory and Morganton locations. The university will work in consultation with local tribes to determine what statements, if any, and actions can best acknowledge tribal connections to these lands.
- Faculty and Staff
- Recruit, retain and promote Indigenous faculty and staff.
- Offer focused professional development opportunities for faculty and staff.
- Develop an Indigenous studies minor that actively includes Indigenous perspectives and the Cherokee language.
- Increase recruitment and retention rates of Indigenous students at App State.
- Elevate existing and develop new Indigenous-serving programs, such as the Native American Student Association (NASA) and Gadugi Partnership.
- Support NASA students to attend the Native American Youth Organization Conference.
- Create a centralized space such as a student lounge tailored to Indigenous communities.
- App State local community
- Build partnerships with local Indigenous organizations.
- Present programming in the performing and visual arts to educate campus on Indigenous cultural contributions.
Follow the progress of these action goals by reviewing the Office of Diversity / CDO Advisory Board Annual report.
What is a land acknowledgement?
A land acknowledgement is an act of conciliation that makes a statement recognizing the traditional land of the Indigenous people who have called and still call the land home before and after the arrival of settlers. It is a formal statement that recognizes and respects the Indigenous peoples as traditional stewards of the land, and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous peoples and their traditional lands.
*Description courtesy of California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center and American Indian Studies.
Why do we recognize the land?
Land acknowledgements recognize an ongoing historical context. It is an acknowledgement of the long-standing history that has brought us to reside on the land and of each individual’s place within that history.
To recognize the land is an expression of gratitude and appreciation to those whose homelands we reside on and a recognition of the original people who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial. The acknowledgment of Indigenous lands provides exposure and a learning opportunity to know the names of these tribes.
Acknowledging the land is also Indigenous/tribal protocol and therefore a respectful routine that helps establish a practice of supporting reconciliation.
*This information courtesy of California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center and American Indian Studies.