As an international student from France, I had never heard of land acknowledgements—until I started the college admissions process in the United States. Hearing each university’s admissions representatives begin events and tours, both online and in person, with these statements soon became familiar. But when I first virtually toured UChicago in July 2022, I was surprised when the information session skipped it. The absence of this mark of awareness toward the history of the United States was troubling, but I quickly dismissed it to focus on the slideshow.
Todd Henderson, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School who studies indigenous law (but is not of indigenous descent), is of a similar mind. “I don’t think land acknowledgments do anything other than assuage people’s guilt,” he said. “If the University of Chicago was to erect a statue of Native people who made contributions […] or have a Native American history requirement, yes, I would love it.”
But concrete changes are, of course, difficult, given the University’s refusal to adopt what it sees as political speech.
Read more at The Chicago Maroon