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By Susan Kelley
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  • American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program
  • Land
Cornell University has a new land acknowledgment, stating that its Ithaca campus is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó:nǫ', also known as the Cayuga Nation. The leadership of the traditional Gayogo̱hó:nǫ' has endorsed the statement.

Faculty members, staff and students are encouraged to read the full acknowledgement at the beginning of gatherings and events and include it in websites, course syllabi and other materials. A pronunciation guide can be found on the website of Cornell’s American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program (AIISP).

The land acknowledgement is:

“Cornell University is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó:nǫ' (the Cayuga Nation). The Gayogo̱hó:nǫ' are members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New York state and the United States of America. We acknowledge the painful history of Gayogo̱hó:nǫ' dispossession, and honor the ongoing connection of Gayogo̱hó:nǫ' people, past and present, to these lands and waters.”

“This acknowledgement is a message for the nonindigenous Cornell community about the ongoing ties that Indigenous people have to this particular area,” said Kurt Jordan ’88, associate professor of anthropology and AIISP faculty member. “It is their homeland; they have very strong connections to it.”

“Ithaca, and the Cornell campus, are known for its strikingly beautiful natural surroundings, which create a sense of connection with nature and the land,” said Katherine McComas, Ph.D. ’00, vice provost for engagement and land-grant affairs. “This is why it’s important that we reflect on the origins of this land and recognize its first peoples, the Gayogo̱hó:nǫ', who have historical and importantly ongoing connections to this place. Using the land acknowledgement is one way to show our respect for this relationship, and we hope that members of the campus community will use it as appropriate.”

This article also appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.

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