Native American Initiatives

What is a Land Acknowledgement and how should it be used?

A Land Acknowledgement is a statement to show respect and recognition to the Indigenous People of our community. It is a reminder for all of us, regardless of our identity, to understand our place within the history of this land.  

NDSU Land Acknowledgement

We collectively acknowledge that we gather at NDSU, a land grant institution, on the traditional lands of the Oceti Sakowin (Dakota, Lakota, Nakoda) and Anishinaabe Peoples in addition to many diverse Indigenous Peoples still connected to these lands. We honor with gratitude Mother Earth and the Indigenous Peoples who have walked with her throughout generations. We will continue to learn how to live in unity with Mother Earth and build strong, mutually beneficial, trusting relationships with Indigenous Peoples of our region.

How do we use our Land Acknowledgement?

Our Land Acknowledgement may be shared before gatherings, events, or ceremonies and may be included on printed material such as courses syllabi.  

All faculty, staff and student groups are welcome to use our Land Acknowledgement when deemed appropriate.

It should be spoken or written in full, and should not be shortened or otherwise altered.

Development of the Land Acknowledgement

A group of Indigenous faculty, staff and students and their allies developed the Land Acknowledgement. The group sought significant feedback from Indigenous people on campus and in the surrounding community. The group consulted the Fargo-Moorhead Native American Commission for feedback on at least two occasions. The statement was finalized in November of 2020 by a committee appointed by President Bresciani.

Support of the Land Acknowledgement

The City of Fargo Native American Commission (NAC) works together to strengthen the Native American community to promote understanding, recognition, and respect for cultures and to enrich the community as a whole. The NAC provided a letter of support of NDSU's Land Acknowledgement statement.

Memorial Union Room Names

To acknowledge the important role of Indigenous cultures in our community and to align with the NDSU Land Acknowledgement Statement, several rooms in the Memorial Union have been re-named. A group of Indigenous faculty and students provided guidance on these name changes and the names better reflect historical accuracy and respect for tribal self-determination. These rooms include:

  • The Great Plains Ballroom has become the Oċet̄i Ṡak̄owiɳBallroom
  • The Century Theater has become the Anishinaabe Theater
  • The Mandan room has become the Nueta room
  • The Arikara room has become the Sahnish room


Anishinaabe      Ah-ni-shi-nah-bay   Listen>>

Dakota    də-ˈkō-tə   Listen>>

Hidatsa  Hii-dot-sah    Listen>>

Lakota    lə-ˈkō-tə    Listen>>

Nakoda    nä-kō-da    Listen>>

Nueta  New-ayt-ah    Listen>>

Oceti Sakowin    Oh-chéh-tee Sha-koh-wee     Listen>> 

Sahnish  Sah-nish    Listen>>

Grandmother Earth’s Gifts of Life Garden

A new home for NDSU’s Grandmother Earth’s Gifts of Life Garden was dedicated on October 12, 2020. Plans are in progress for the development of the new garden which will be located near the Memorial Wall on the southwest side of campus just before the 12th Avenue bridge. The garden is open and available to Indigenous Peoples and the campus community as a whole and honors and connects campus to Indigenous cultures.

New Beginnings: Making Good: Delivering Educational Equity for and with Indigenous Tribal Students and Communities

The goal of this initiative, funded in fall of 2020, through a United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture New Beginnings grant is to create an institutional framework that will not only offer Tribal students the opportunities of higher education, but provide a holistic support system to ensure their success.

Project Director:
Canan Bilen-Green, Vice Provost for Faculty and Equity

Co-Project Directors:
Jaclynn Davis Wallette, Director of Multicultural Programs
Gregory Lardy, Vice President for Agricultural Affairs
Melody Staebner, Indian Education Coordinator Fargo and West Fargo Public Schools
Charles Stoltenow, Assistant Director/Program Leader Agriculture and Natural Resources
Ramona Danielson, Assistant Professor of Public Health
Kelly Sassi, Professor of English

Team members:
Laura Oster-Aaland, Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management
Lynette Flage, Associate Director Extension
JIll Motschenbacher, Associate Director Office of Teaching and Learning
Julie Nash, Excellence Programs Manager Faculty Affairs
Jan Stankiewicz, Extension Specialist and Tribal Liaison
Becky Bahe, Director Career and Advising
Cali Anicha, Research Associate Faculty Affairs
John Creese, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology
Seinquis Leinen, Associate Director Admission

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