(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University has adopted an acknowledgement that the SOU campus lies on the ancestral homelands of the area’s Native American tribes, who were removed through a series of actions by Euro-American settlers and the U.S. government, beginning in the mid-1800s.
The formal “land acknowledgement” was developed by staff representatives of the Grand Ronde and Siletz tribes, and Brook Colley, chair of SOU’s Native American Studies Program.
“In our desire for collective healing and partnership, we offer this Acknowledgment of Indigenous peoples and their connections, rights and responsibilities to the land that Southern Oregon University occupies,” developers of the statement said on the SOU website where it is found.
The full and unabridged land acknowledgement may be read at meetings or gatherings on the SOU campus, and the land acknowledgement website – whose text and images were approved by representatives of the two tribes – may be linked to from other university web pages.
SOU’s complete land acknowledgement is:
“We want to take this moment to acknowledge that Southern Oregon University is located within the ancestral homelands of the Shasta, Takelma, and Latgawa peoples who lived here since time immemorial. These Tribes were displaced during rapid Euro-American colonization, the Gold Rush, and armed conflict between 1851 and 1856. In the 1850s, discovery of gold and settlement brought thousands of Euro-Americans to their lands, leading to warfare, epidemics, starvation, and villages being burned. In 1853 the first of several treaties were signed, confederating these Tribes and others together – who would then be referred to as the Rogue River Tribe. These treaties ceded most of their homelands to the United States, and in return they were guaranteed a permanent homeland reserved for them. At the end of the Rogue River Wars in 1856, these Tribes and many other Tribes from western Oregon were removed to the Siletz Reservation and the Grand Ronde Reservation. Today, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians are living descendants of the Takelma, Shasta, and Latgawa peoples of this area. We encourage YOU to learn about the land you reside on, and to join us in advocating for the inherent sovereignty of Indigenous people.”