State Watch

University of Texas at Arlington acknowledges it was built on land owned by Native Americans

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The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) has for the first time acknowledged the school was built on land that once belonged to Native Americans.

In a press release, UTA officials said an 11-member task forced researched the land and concluded the campus sits on Indigenous lands once owned by the Wichita and affiliated tribes, who had built a village in the area by the 1840s. 

“Their ancestors resided here for generations before being forcibly displaced by U.S. settlers and soldiers in the mid-1800s,” the Feb. 10 press release said.

Les Riding-In, a task force member and the assistant dean in the College of Liberal Arts, said the acknowledgement was a “call to action” in a statement.

“We aim to continue to embark on more related efforts, including adopting a Native American oversight council, transforming an area on campus for individual and institutional reflection and a Native American student scholarship endowed with a gift,” Riding-In said.

The university also acknowledged the presence of the Caddo Nation, an affiliation of southeastern tribes, in the region.

While UTA recognizing the history of its campus is new, universities formally recognizing their presence on Indigenous land is not.

In December, George Mason University paid tribute to “recognized Virginia tribes who have lovingly stewarded these lands for millennia,” joining Northwestern University, American University, Princeton and more in releasing statements with such acknowledgements.

Kenneth Roemer, a professor emeritus of English and a member of the task force at UTA, said acknowledgement was just one part of the process. He called attention to the present contributions of Native Americans in the region.

“This statement is a living document and takes care to highlight the continued presence of Native Americans in Arlington and North Texas in the present,” he said.

Tags Arlington Native Americans Texas tribal land University of Texas at Arlington

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