Statement of Acknowledgment of Indigenous Peoples and their Ancestral Lands
Bentley University was founded and currently residents on the ancestral homelands of the indigenous Pawtucket (puh-TUCK-et) and Massachusett (MASS-ad-CHU-sett) peoples, the latter from whom the name of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was taken.
Bentley acknowledges the impact of forced removal and violence on the lives and legacies of Indigenous people past and present. Bentley is committed as an institution of higher education to creating an educational environment that recognizes and honors the lived experiences, cultural practices, land resources, and history of Indigenous peoples at the University.
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Land Acknowledgment Statement
The Honoring Indigenous Communities Working Group convened in the Spring 2022 semester to explore and develop a comprehensive land acknowledgment statement for Bentley University that recognizes the legacy and contributions of the Indigenous and First Nations communities who are the first and current inhabitants on the land that is present-day Waltham, Massachusetts. This page offers context for the creation of this acknowledgment statement and also serves as a home for additional resources and updates on strategic efforts to support and recognize Indigenous communities.
What is a Land Acknowledgment?
A land acknowledgment is a direct affirmation of the land as a natural resource from which we as humans benefit and the original and present-day caretakers—the Indigenous and First Nations communities—who call this land their ancestral homelands. This acknowledgment serves as a reminder of the land upon which Bentley University resides and a critical reflection point for us to think about how the University will honor the land and all its natural resources to support all community members, including Indigenous peoples.
Why does Bentley use a Land Acknowledgment?
Bentley University, as a community committed to diversity and inclusion, sits on land that belongs to Indigenous communities who remain with us today, despite the long history of violence and displacement that they have faced for many centuries. Indigenous people are the original inhabitants of the land we currently recognize as the United States of America and are the original caretakers of the land. As a self-determined people, these First Nations communities have for centuries taken care to honor the land which is viewed as a resource to be cherished and appreciated by all people.
Bentley University recognizes that the institution came into being and is located on the unceded territory of the current Indigenous peoples living in present-day Back Bay in Boston and in Waltham. Bentley University strives to invest in, honor and respect Indigenous peoples by creating a space to increase awareness of the history of Indigenous people and utilizing the resources available within the University to improve Bentley community members’ understanding of the current, alive and thriving, Indigenous peoples that coexist with us today.
This acknowledgment is a living statement. As we continue to grow as a community in our understanding of how to honor, support and invest in Indigenous community members within and outside of the University, we hope to evolve this statement to more accurately reflect our commitments and hold ourselves accountable as an institution.
Suggestions for Use of Land Acknowledgment
Bentley University invites but does not require the use of the Land Acknowledgment Statement in University-sponsored events, media and spaces. Those who choose to use the language are encouraged to use the above text as written. Below are some ways in which this statement can be utilized by Bentley community members:
- Faculty may choose to incorporate this language into their course syllabi to present to their students.
- Individuals or units may choose to read this statement at the beginning of events. It is encouraged that those reading the statement offer personal reflections on their own learning and commitment to Indigenous communities.
- Individuals may also elect to include an abbreviated acknowledgment statement in online media, email signatures, and University-sponsored social media accounts. Suggest language for this abbreviated statement may be: "Bentley University resides on the ancestral homelands of the indigenous Pawtucket and Massachusett peoples."