This has not been approved by the Chickasaw Nation at this time. We are still in the process of reaching out and working with them.**
We begin today by recognizing and acknowledging that we are on the lands of the Chickasaw nation. Memphis, and all of Tennessee, was the traditional territory for many indigenous peoples prior to their forced removal, and the University of Memphis has a responsibility to acknowledge the peoples and histories of these lands. Our ability to exist here (to “dream, think, and do” here) is the result of coercion, dispossession, and colonization. To ignore that is to perpetuate it. The University of Memphis respects the diverse communities it touches, including those who occupied this territory originally, those brought to it by force, and those who settled here in search of better circumstances. We understand that acknowledgement is only a gesture, but it represents the beginning of our commitment to reconciliation in the United States.
Please leave any suggestions, edits, concerns, thoughts, etc, in the comments. This will continue to be updated, but I’ll leave a record of modifications in the comments as well.
**I know I stated that I wouldn’t share the draft until we had it approved, but I also thought seeing the process and the before and after would be important, so I decided to share it.