Land Acknowledgements as a Way to Celebrate Indigenous Identity and Support Mental Health

Today is both Indigenous Peoples' Day and World Mental Health Day, and to honor both of these days we highlight how land acknowledgements are one step against Indigenous erasure within academic spaces.  Land acknowledgements express gratitude, respect, and recognition for the historic and contemporary presence of Indigenous Peoples as original stewards of their traditional lands on which we now work, study, and learn. Land acknowledgements are a way to celebrate the cultural richness and contributions of Indigenous people, to acknowledge that Indigenous history began long before Columbus “sailed the ocean blue,” and to engage with our ethical and historic responsibility to the territories that we live on.

The EAP respectfully acknowledges that we are meeting on the Indigenous lands of Turtle Island, the ancestral name for what now is called North America. Moreover, EAP would like to acknowledge the Alabama-Coushatta, Caddo, Carrizo/Comecrudo, Coahuiltecan, Comanche, Kickapoo, Lipan Apache, Tonkawa and Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo, and all the American Indian and Indigenous Peoples and communities who have been or have become a part of these lands and territories in what is now called Texas.

Bringing visibility to the Indigenous communities within UT Austin and cultivating spaces that support Indigenous people practicing their culture supports mental well-being, as it nourishes connection to community, ancestors, and history. We honor that Indigenous traditions and beliefs are a source of sustenance, pride, strength, and resiliency. The Smithsonian Magazine of the National Smithsonian Institute, offers  five ways to celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day by appreciating the brilliance, beauty and wisdom of indigenous people and their communities:
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/blogs/national-museum-american-indian/2022/09/26/five-ideas-for-celebrating-indigenous-peoples-day-2022/

For further reflections about Land Acknowledgements, some resources to explore are:

https://www.insightintodiversity.com/acknowledging-native-land-is-a-step-against-indigenous-erasure/

http://landacknowledgements.org/

And finally, we want to highlight the mental health resource of the organization We Are Native as a potential support for Indigenous faculty, staff, retirees, and their families: https://www.wernative.org/