Land Acknowledgment


Brown’s land acknowledgment is part of five commitments the University has made to establish a foundation for strengthening relationships with the Indigenous peoples of this region.

Brown University has established a set of commitments to help build meaningful relationships with the Narragansett Indian Tribe and other Indigenous peoples and increase understanding of their lived experiences.

The commitments are adapted from recommendations offered to President Christina H. Paxson in Spring 2022 by a Land Acknowledgment Working Group she convened in March 2021. Paxson charged the group with the important work of developing a deeper understanding of the relationship between the University, the Native and Indigenous peoples of this region, and the land on which Brown is situated on College Hill.

Land Acknowledgment Commitments

These commitments were adopted by the University in May 2022:

  1. The University will adopt the official land acknowledgment statement developed by the Land Acknowledgment Working Group and supported by the Narragansett Indian Tribe. Education and guidance for its use will be provided to the community on a land acknowledgment website, and members of the Brown community are strongly encouraged to follow this guidance when they choose to use a land acknowledgment.
  2. The University will commission and support new original scholarship regarding the origins and founding of Brown University and its relationships to the Indigenous peoples in and around what is now southern New England. Recognizing the preliminary nature of the Land Acknowledgment Working Group’s findings, new scholarship commissioned by the University will include collaboration between Indigenous peoples of the region and the John Carter Brown Library, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative and other academic units at Brown.
  3. The University will establish a working group to work closely with the Narragansett Indian Tribe to explore how Brown can effectively honor and memorialize its College Hill location as part of the homeland of the Narragansett people.
  4. The University will support increased educational opportunities and access for youth of the Narragansett Indian Tribe and other tribal youth from New England. To advance this work, Brown will establish a working group in Fall 2022 to coordinate efforts around existing initiatives, including Summer@Brown, Brown Summer High School, the College Access initiative, and other programs.
  5. The University will increase investment in the Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative (NAISI) and the Native Americans at Brown (NAB) student organization. This will include building support for the new NAISI faculty director and the Critical Native American and Indigenous Studies undergraduate concentration, a new offering as of the Fall 2022 semester. This also will include establishing a residential program house in the 2022-23 academic year that centers on community building for Native and Indigenous students and those with an interest in Native and Indigenous studies and the historical and contemporary experiences of Indigenous peoples (this work is underway).

These commitments will move forward through the University’s established governance processes and/or under the guidance of groups identified to act on their implementation. Effective May 24, 2022, community members can choose to use the land acknowledgment.