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Responding to ACC’s Land Acknowledgement

ACC acknowledges that we all exist, learn, and grow on what was once indigenous land as described below. Why come right out and say it? Why now? And once we say it, what then? Check out this link from the Native Governance Center about the meaning and importance of a Land Acknowledgement. Actions of the past have repercussions into the future. Below is our acknowledgement followed by a few actions we can take now to begin to make things better one step at a time.

ACC’s Land Acknowledgement

As a means of expressing our gratitude, and in recognition of whose territory we reside in, we want to start our meetings by acknowledging the indigenous history of the land our institution is occupying, and specifically the peoples of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Ute, and Očhéthi Šakówiŋ tribes.  We are obligated to reflect on, and actively address, the history of this area, including the Sand Creek Massacre, as we continue in our work to move this institution towards a more inclusive and welcoming place for all people.

What can you do in Fall of 2023?

The College is currently working with leadership of the Northern Arapaho to create educational events to promote mutual understanding. We will join together October 10 to celebrate culture, listen to informative stories and discuss how to integrate Native studies and perspectives into our curriculum.

On the evening of October 9, please join ACC in the Waring Theater to see five short plays by Native American authors. These plays cover topics such and violence against indigenous women, intersectionality, environmental justice, generational trauma, and are presented by Native American players.

How else can students, faculty, and staff at ACC build up our own understanding?

For more information on how to get involved in ACC’s Equity efforts visit ACC's Inclusive Excellence page.

How can this acknowledgement and further understanding expand our curriculum? Our student learning? Our reach to all persons in our community? Below are some short, curated lists of ways we can start:

Listen to Stories from a Native American Point of View

Listening can begin in the reading of books by Native American authors such as these titles:

  • Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians But Were Afraid to Ask
    nonfiction by Anton Treuer
  • Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley
  • Spirit and Reason: The Vine Deloria Jr. Reader by Vine Deloria Jr. and Wilma Mankiller

For titles more specific to curriculum and pedagogy, check the Libguide page:
ACC Library Diversity Equity & Inclusion Guide > Native American/Indigenous Peoples

Talk with john [dot] hall [at] arapahoe [dot] edu (subject: Book%20Group-%20Native%20Amereican%20Listening) (John Hall) about setting up a faculty / staff book group for Spring 2024.

Consider a trip to the Sand Creek Massacre Exhibit at History Colorado. This exhibit tells the story from the perspectives of Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal representatives. It covers the history, and the present-day stories as well.

You can also read more here about how Native American perspectives drive the current exhibit.

New Ideas for Thanksgiving

In the interest of bringing indigenous stories to light during the Thanksgiving holiday, here are some ideas:

From Smithsonian Magazine, here are 7 Native-inspired recipes from contemporary Native American chefs. Consider adding one or more to your table this year.

Consider a quick pilgrimage to the memorial of Silas Soule at 15th and Arapahoe in downtown Denver during the Thanksgiving weekend. Learn more about Silas Soule who ordered his men NOT to fire at the Sand Creek Massacre. (“Mount Soule” is one of the names currently being considered for the re-naming of Mount Evans.)

As mentioned above… Consider a trip to the Sand Creek Massacre Exhibit at History Colorado. This exhibit tells the story from the perspectives of Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal representatives. It covers the history, and the present-day stories as well. This ongoing exhibit is included with general admission to History Colorado.

Learn about Opportunities to Volunteer

Here are just a few of the many organizations right here in the metro area with opportunities to serve and learn.

Below is a link to a more extensive list. One of the organizations listed here may match up with the vision and goals of students in YOUR academic program. If so, talk with diana [dot] hornick [at] arapahoe [dot] edu (subject: Service%20Learning-%20Native%20American) (Diana Hornick) about setting up a Service Learning curriculum item featuring student service projects with one of these organizations.

Considerations for Volunteering: Tune in. Learn. Grow.
While volunteering, abandon your agenda and tune in to the stories of others. As you work, try to think of all you will write down on your list of things you learned that day. Growth will probably come automatically if you allow for some quiet space in which to learn. Enjoy!

Learn about Ways to Adjust Your Curriculum

Contemporary Scholarly Titles in Native Studies

At Arapahoe Community College, we are committed to integrating Native scholarship into our teaching and research. Below is a body of foundational scholarship that students, staff and faculty can utilize to critically explore Native studies perspectives on culture, power and society in settler colonies in North America and around the world. Please contact Jaden Netwig at jaden [dot] netwig [at] arapahoe [dot] edu (jaden[dot]netwig[at]arapahoe[dot]edu) for more information.

  • Barker, Joanne (Lenape). Sovereignty Matters: Locations of Contestation and Possibility in Indigenous Struggles for Self-Determination.
  • Blackhawk, Ned (Western Shoshone). Violence over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West.
  • Coulthard, Glen (Yellowknives Dene). Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition.
  • Deloria Jr, Vine (Hunkpapa Lakota/Standing Rock Sioux). Custer Died For Your Sins: An American Indian Manifesto.
  • Estes, Nick (Lower Brule Sioux Tribe). Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance.
  • Goeman, Mishuana (Tonawanda Band of Seneca). Mark My Words: Native Women Mapping Our Nations.
  • Speed, Shannon (Chickasaw Nation). Incarcerated Stories: Indigenous Women Migrants in the Settler Capitalist State.
  • Simpson, Leanne Betasamosake (Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg). As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom Through Radical Resistance.
  • Simpson, Audra (Kahnawake Mohawk). Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life Across the Borders of Settler States.
  • Temin, David Myer. Remapping Sovereignty: Decolonization and Self-Determination in North American Indigenous Political Thought.