George Mason issues land acknowledgment to promote awareness of indigenous communities

George Mason University issued a land use acknowledgment statement that recognized the indigenous people related to the property where the school is located.

“It’s long overdue,” said Gabrielle Tayac, an associate professor of public history at George Mason University.

She said the recent acknowledgment recognized the Native American tribes on whose land the Virginia university sits.

“It creates an understanding that there are Native American people and tribes that have contributed widely to the formation of our country and the places that we are, and often to great sacrifice,” Tayac said.

Tayac is a member of the Piscataway Indian Nation and said that anyone can develop a land use acknowledgment with research.

“Take some time to think about an investigate who was in the place where you are, who still is there, and to have an understanding that you are part of the story, even if it’s something that happened hundreds of years ago,” Tayac said.

The statement was published by George Mason University and Tayac said they will incorporate it into daily life as much as they can — including in email signatures and at events.

“It’s been an intergenerational project to have more awareness to the point where if we’re getting, you know, city, governments, schools, classrooms, student organizations, asking about land acknowledgment, being able to say the words and the names of the people who have lived here,” Tayac said.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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