As a community of learners at Swarthmore College, we acknowledge that our campus is situated in Lenapehoking — also known as the Land of the Lenape — past and present. We honor with gratitude the land itself and the Indigenous people who stewarded it throughout the generations and who were driven from it by European and American colonizers. We commit to serve as responsible stewards of the land and to our shared, ongoing responsibility for community care. Consistent with Swarthmore’s commitment to social responsibility, we seek to build a more inclusive and equitable learning space for present and future generations through deliberate actions and collaborations.
How to Use
The College’s land acknowledgment is a statement that recognizes and honors the history of the land on which the College sits and the Indigenous people who stewarded it throughout the generations. Using it provides an opportunity to publicly affirm the College’s ongoing commitment to the land and to deepening our support of and relationships with Indigenous communities.
Ways you might consider using the statement include:
- Reading it at the beginning of a College class, meeting, or event
- Adding it to an email signature
- Printing it on signs or posters
- Including it in event programs or other promotional materials
These suggestions are meant to serve as guides rather than mandates. Use of the statement is not limited to these suggestions, nor is it required.
A statement alone without substantive action behind it is insufficient. Swarthmore is committed to adopting in the near term the following task force recommendations with the hope and expectation that they will deepen the College's support of and relationships with Indigenous communities.
- Strengthen our recruitment efforts of Indigenous students, faculty, and staff members.
- Engage in ongoing training and education to strengthen the retention of Native American and Indigenous students, faculty, and staff. We will do so in consultation with Indigenous community members and groups on campus, such as the Swarthmore Indigenous Students Association.
- Consider additional actions, including those with curricular implications, as part of the College's ongoing strategic planning efforts.
- What is a Land Acknowledgement?
A Land Acknowledgment is a formal statement that recognizes and respects Indigenous people as traditional stewards of this land and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous people and their traditional territories.
- Why acknowledge the land?
Swarthmore College has a tradition of honoring the natural environment that dates back to its founding. Since that time, the College community has served as responsible caretakers of the land on which our campus is situated. Our 425-acre arboretum campus has been a source of serenity, inspiration, and rejuvenation for generations of Swarthmoreans, and will continue to be one for generations to come. As good stewards, we must examine the complex history of our physical location; formally recognize that the College sits in Lenapehoking, or the Land of the Lenape; and honor the Indigenous Americans who cared for this land for generations.
- What are the origins of Swarthmore's Land Acknowledgement?
President Valerie Smith formed a Land Acknowledgement Task Force in 2021. At the conclusion of their work in 2022, the task force shared with her a draft land acknowledgment and a series of recommendations. On February 8, 2023, President Smith shared the above land acknowledgment, which was affirmed by the College’s Board of Managers.
If you have additional questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Additional Resources
First Nations Development Institute
Native Governance Center