UMN Morris Land Acknowledgment
4/2021 consultation draft, updated 7/2021
for campus use/printing during consultation
Proposed for email signatures, powerpoint, posters, and other brief publications:
The University of Minnesota Morris is located on land that has been cared for and called home by theDakota people, and later the Ojibwe people and other Native peoples from time immemorial. By offering this land acknowledgment, we affirm tribal sovereignty and express respect for Native peoples and nations.
Proposed for syllabi, at major campus events, and in longer print spaces:
By offering this land acknowledgment, we affirm tribal sovereignty and express respect for Native peoples and nations. The University of Minnesota Morris is located along Owobopte Wakpa—a place from which Dakota turnips have been dug river—on the edge of mashkode akiing—prairie land. This land has been cared for and called home by the Dakota people, and later the Ojibwe people and other Native peoples, from time immemorial. Our state’s name, Minnesota, comes from the Dakota name for this region, Mni Sota Makoce—the land where the waters reflect the skies. Acknowledging the land and our history in this place is an offering of solidarity with and respect for Native nations and peoples. In doing so, we—The University of Minnesota Morris—reaffirm our commitment to our responsibilities rooted in the history of our campus site as a Native American boarding school, our distinctive mission as a public liberal arts college within Minnesota’s land-grant university, and our federal recognition as a Native American-Serving Nontribal Institution.
Proposed for website, longer print options, and educational applications:
By offering this land acknowledgment, we affirm tribal sovereignty, express respect for Native peoples and nations, encourage understanding of our tuition waiver, and invite others to do the same. The University of Minnesota Morris is located along the river called Owobopte Wakpa by the Dakota people—a place from which Dakota turnips have been dug river—and Opinikani Zibi by the Anishinaabe—the place of wild potatoes river. These lands on the edge of mashkode akiing—prairie land—have been cared for and called home by the Dakota people, and later the Ojibwe people and other Native peoples, from time immemorial. Our state’s name, Minnesota, comes from the Dakota name for this region, Mni Sota Makoce—the land where the waters reflect the skies.
Before there was a University of Minnesota presence here, the site housed an American Indian boarding school established in 1887 by the Sisters of Mercy community of the Catholic Church under contract with the United States government. The United States government began directly operating the Morris Industrial School for Indians on this site in 1897; one building from the school remains on campus. Sixteen American Indian boarding schools in Minnesota and hundreds across the country separated children from their families and attempted to eliminate Native languages and cultures, with intergenerational impacts still felt across Indian Country. UMN Morris has joined the National Boarding School Healing Coalition and sought Dakota and Anishinaabe leaders’ guidance to bring greater truth telling, understanding, change, and healing
regarding this history and the boarding school era.
In 1909, the federal government closed the school, transferring the campus and buildings to the State of Minnesota. The federal legislation and corresponding state statute stipulated that American Indian students be admitted to future educational institutions on the site “on terms of equality” with other students and “free of charge for tuition.” This federal mandate has its roots in treaty law and has been UMN Morris policy since our establishment as the University’s public liberal arts campus in 1960.
Acknowledging the land and our history in this place is an offering of solidarity with and respect for Native nations and peoples. In doing so, we reaffirm our commitment to our responsibilities rooted in this place and in the history of our campus site as a Native American boarding school, our distinctive mission as a public liberal arts college within Minnesota’s land-grant university, and our federal recognition as a Native American-Serving Nontribal Institution—the only four-year NASNTI university in the Upper Midwest.
Today, this region’s Dakota, Ojibwe, and other Native peoples are recognized as leaders in rebuilding Native Nations and reclaiming Indigenous lifeways. More than 300 Native American students from 70 tribal nations live and learn at UMN Morris.
We are committed to creating a university where Native American students can increasingly share, connect with, and deepen their knowledge of Indigenous peoples, nations, tribes, languages, sovereignty, and lifeways; where Native cultures are more present and reflected in campus life; and where all members of our community benefit from greater knowledge and understanding regarding our shared histories and the people indigenous to this place.
Owobopte Wakpa - O-wo’-bo-pte Wa-kpa, Dakota, ”a place from which Dakota turnips have been dug river”
Dakota - Da-ko’-ta
Ojibwe - Oh-jib’-way
Mashkode akiing - Mash-Koh-de ah-king, Ojibwe, “prairie land”
Mni Sota Makoce - Mi-ni’ So-ta’ Ma-ko-ce, Dakota, “ the land where the waters reflect the skies"
Anishinaabe - Ah-nish’-in-ah-beh
Opinikani Zibi - Oh-pin-nee kah-nee Zee-bee, Ojibwe, “the place of wild potatoes river.”
Minnesota Indian Affairs Council—Why Treaties Matter
- Durand, Paul C. Where the Waters Gather and the Rivers Meet: An Atlas of the Eastern Sioux. Prior Lake, MN: P.C. Durand, 1994.
- Westerman, Gwen and White, Bruce. Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2012.
- Dakota Dictionary Online
- The Ojibwe People’s Dictionary
American Indian Boarding School
- Wilbert H. Ahern, Indian Education and Bureaucracy: The School at Morris, 1887–1909, Minnesota History, Fall 1984.
- National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition
UMN Morris Tuition Waiver for American Indian Students
- Traverse des Sioux, 1851 (Clause 2d refers to educational responsibilities of federal government)
American Indian / Native American: Within the State of Minnesota and at UMN Morris, the term American Indian is used to refer more broadly to peoples indigenous to the United States and Canada including members and descendants of tribal nations, Alaskan native villages and corporations, and Canadian First Nations. The term Native American is used as well to reflect the same peoples as the campus is identified
federally as a Native American-Serving Nontribal Institution of higher education by the US Department of
Note: In institutional data reporting Native students may identify their race/ethnicity as Native American only or Native American plus one or more other races/ethnicities.
Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions (NASNTIs): Higher education institutions that are not a tribal college or university and where Native American/Alaska Native students comprise at least 10% of undergraduates.