– Sonoma State Star – The university’s student newspaper


Some professors at Sonoma State University have begun to include tribal land acknowledgments, acknowledging indigenous peoples and tribes as the traditional stewards of the land, in their curricula.

SSU is located on the traditional homelands of the Indigenous peoples collectively known as the Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo, but is far from the only California State University institution with Indigenous roots. Other CSU programs and faculty have taken to formally honoring the Indigenous peoples of America and their land on which we reside.

Cal State East Bay launched a recent initiative to honor the Indigenous land the school sits on. CSEB faculty, staff, and departments have embraced the inclusion of formal land acknowledgment in all of their programs.

Darrius Fatemi, professor of psychology here at SSU and CSEB, said, “The land acknowledgment at Cal State East Bay appears as an automatic attachment to many staff and faculty emails. They have been doing this for quite some time before it became a required part of the curriculum this fall semester.

In his email, Fatemi explained how he agreed so much with the CSEB land recognition requirement that he deferred it to his SSU course curriculum.

Since this is not a University-imposed policy, it appears that there are not many professors who currently include this recognition of the land in their curricula; Fatemi is one of the few. Given the progress CSEB has made in honoring indigenous peoples and land, some professors like Fatemi are curious as to why Sonoma State isn’t doing the same.

Mary Churchill, SSU Assistant Faculty Member in Native American Studies, said, “I encourage the SSU administration to require land acknowledgment in course curricula and to embed land acknowledgment more deeply into the campus life, such as at official events and meetings, in signage. , and on the web.

Churchill believes that land recognition is just the start of a much larger process and we must recognize that there is still much to do. “This is the first step in a process of coming to terms with our colonial history and how non-Indigenous people continue to benefit from land theft and genocide. Without concrete steps to bring about change today, especially land restitution to Native Americans, land recognitions can become mere performances that maintain the status quo. Churchill said via email.

On the home page of the SSU Associated Students site, the school grounds acknowledgment text can be found. Below the text is a link to the Graton Rancheria of Coast Miwok and the web of the South Pomo people.

Earlier this year, the US Congress officially recognized the Graton Rancheria community as a Coast Miwoks and Southern Pomos tribe.


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