Land Acknowledgement

In 2020, the California legislature adopted the Tribal Land Acknowledgment Act of 2020.  As Cal OER is a virtual event, we wish to acknowledge all the peoples that were the original stewards of the land that is the state of California  We do so by sharing this overview image and this listing of the existing land acknowledgments made by institutions of higher education in the state.

Learn more about the land you currently occupy.

The preamble to the Tribal Land Acknowledgment Act of 2020 explains what a land acknowledgment is and why they are made.

(a) Tribal land acknowledgment is a formal statement that recognizes and respects Native American peoples as traditional stewards of this land, and the enduring relationship that exists between Native American peoples and their traditional lands. 

(b) To recognize the land is an expression of gratitude and appreciation to those whose homelands we reside on, and is a recognition of the original people and nations who have been living and working on the land since time immemorial. 

(c) The teachings of United States history in schools, museums, and the media have left out the voices of the original nations and peoples  California native people have endured colonial efforts to erase their existence, cultures, religions, languages, and connections to ancestral territories  Despite the importation of the mission system and genocidal action during California’s statehood, native people have maintained their presence in, and stewardship of, their homelands  California is home to nearly 200 tribes  Had the 18 original treaties with California Indian tribes been honored by the state and federal government, California Indian tribes would possess over 7,500,000 acres of land  Today, California Indian tribes collectively possess about 7 percent of their unratified treaty territory  Despite federal and state efforts to erode ownership, control, and visibility, California Native American people remain actively engaged in cultural revitalization, resource protection, and self-determination within every region of  4  California  Systematic denial of Native American knowledge, cultural authority, and historical experiences perpetuates the colonial structure of oppression.

(d) Tribal land acknowledgment statements encourage individuals to think about what it means to occupy space on Native American lands  These statements recognize the traditional land of the Native American people in this state who called, and still call, the land home before and after the arrival of settlers.

(e) Tribal land acknowledgment provides a learning opportunity for individuals who may have never heard the names of the tribes that continue to live and learn from the land  Land acknowledgment is Native American tribal protocol, and the practice establishes a respectful routine and habit of offering reconciliation  Tribal land acknowledgment is a transformative act that works to undo the intentional erasure of indigenous peoples from the nationalist colonial narrative, and is the first step in decolonizing land relations.

If your college is not listed below, please contact us at and we will include your land acknowledgement below.

Last Updated 7-21-2023