Make Eco House Your Eco Home!

Land Acknowledgment

Cornell University is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ (the Cayuga Nation). The Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ are members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New York state and the United States of America. We acknowledge the painful history of Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ dispossession, and honor the ongoing connection of Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ people, past and present, to these lands and waters.

This land acknowledgment has been reviewed and approved by the traditional Gayogo̱hó:nǫɁ leadership.

Why Is Making Room To Explore Indigeneity and Cornell's Role Important to Eco House?

Ecology House is a space for learning, creating, and growing. Our goal is to provide a welcoming space that focuses on the intersection of nature, ecology, and people. With an emphasis and on sustainability, and environmental justice- it is our hope that by learning about different cultures and stewardship, we can help further foster peoples interest in protecting the world around us. We would be remise if we did not create intentional space to look at not only our Eco Home, but the field of Ecology itself.  As citizens of the world and life long learners we want to question how we can help support original land stewards and advocates who were here well before "ecology" was even considered a field of study and still to this day continue to advocate for  the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings. We recognize the paradox of being able to attend Cornell University and can acknowledge the on going pain the presence of this University has caused Indigenous communities. It is important to us that we therefore weave Native artists, leaders, scientists, community members, and histories into our space to ensure we are uplifting these communities and working to repair further harm by not addressing these histories.

  • Larger Impact As A "Land Grab University"

    Through the Morrill Act land-grant process, in which the federal government deeded Indian lands stolen by force and fraud in the course of a national genocide to 52 land-grant universities, Cornell University became economically and morally tied to Indigenous Nations whose traditional territories were located in what are now the U.S. states of California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin. Essentially, the original funding for these land-grant universities is derived from land taken through a systematic and genocidal campaign of violence, fraud, forced treaties (some never ratified), dislocation, and death. Cornell received the most land through the provisions of the Morrill Act, almost 1 million acres in total. With the exception of some retained mineral rights, the University sold all of its Morrill Act parcels by 1935. Cornell made substantially more money from the manipulation and sales of these lands (and the natural resources thereupon) than any other land-grant institution, and revenue from these lands formed the lion’s share of the University’s operating budget for the first thirty years of its existence. The university also possesses land throughout New York state (experimental farms, research stations and the like) and retains mineral rights in the U.S. Midwest and Southwest. Further, some of the over 240 Nations that originally lived in these areas were forced into new locations through the agenda of settler colonialism, including forced migrations into what is now Canada. A full accounting of the scope of Cornell’s complicity in Indigenous dispossession must attend to all of these lands and peoples.

  • Suggested Educational Resources To Learn More About Land-Grab Universities

  • What Is A Land Acknowledgement And Why Is It Important For Ecology House?

    • A land acknowledgment is a statement that respects Indigenous peoples as the original inhabitants of the lands we occupy, as well as recognizing their long history in and their enduring connections to their traditional homelands. Land acknowledgments draw attention to these ongoing ties and bring listeners’ thoughts both to histories of dispossession and violence and the resilience and continuing vitality of Indigenous communities who persist against great odds. It is important that each Land Acknowledgement be specific to the direct land which you are currently on or wishing to specifically uplift instead of using blanket language.
    • If you need help determining which traditional territory you are situated in, a useful website is Native Land. For various historical reasons, including displacement, migration, group fission and fusion and genocide, determining original inhabitants is not a simple matter. The information contained in Native Lands is explicitly termed a “work in progress,” but it is a good-faith effort led by Indigenous researchers that can serve as a starting point for further investigation.
    • As students who are interested in learning about ecology and the land we are on, it is imperative that Ecology House intertwine information about ongoing and historical Native Issues as a way to produce more globally minded citizens that are to uplift Native communities and reckon with the nuanced reality that the school providing an education is still is having large impacts from having displaced Indigenous populations on all of its locations not just in Ithaca.