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American Indian and Indigenous Relations Committee

UDARI Committee Grants Award Winner

The American Indian and Indigenous Relations committee utilized UD Anti-Racism Initiative’s grant funding to employ two graduate students to conduct research into the University of Delaware’s history in relation to the dispossession of Indigenous lands and other related issues during the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters. Maureen Iplenski (History) researched and wrote an introductory document “Understanding the University of Delaware as a Land Grant University.” Julia Hamer-Light (Art History) researched and drafted “Keywords for Building Relationships in Lenape and Nanticoke Homelands,” providing terms and definitions to support clear, transparent, and appropriate communication among members of UD and Indigenous communities. Another round of UDARI funding was generously granted to the committee to support student research assistants in carrying these projects forward in 2022–2023. Maureen Iplenski (History) continued her research on  UD’s land grant history and drafted a second document “The Commodification of Indigenous Lands and How UD has benefitted.” Emma Korein (Marine Policy) conducted tribal outreach and consultation for the Keywords project in order to further develop this resource in a way that reflects diverse tribal perspectives and promotes self-representation. Under the mentorship of faculty on the committee, students have played a critical role in transforming UD’s institutional norms and culture towards accountability for its colonial legacy.


The American Indian and Indigenous Relations Committee seeks to help foster the University’s scholarly, pedagogical and ecologically-and socially-engaged relationships with our state’s, region’s and global Indigenous communities. This work includes the examination of the University’s own history in relation to our watershed’s Indigenous community, the Lenape and Nanticoke.


  1. CONSULT AND COLLABORATE with Indigenous communities in the Delaware watersheds and beyond; foster relationships based on respect and reciprocity.
  2. GUIDE UD’s institutional adoption of the Living Land Acknowledgement and promote implementation of the recommended Institutional Action Steps.
  3. EDUCATE about settler colonialism; about Indigenous sovereignty, lands, languages, cultures, and activism; and about UD’s role in the nationwide land-grant system and American Indian land dispossession.
  4. ADVOCATE for the recognition of and opportunities for American Indian and Indigenous peoples as students, faculty, and staff; for ethical research and teaching of related histories and contemporary issues.


Pascha Bueno-Hansen

(Women & Gender Studies/Political Science and International Relations)

Living Land Acknowledgement & Resources

On November 1, 2021, UD’s Faculty Senate voted to formalize a Living Land Acknowledgement, prepared and presented by the American Indian and Indigenous Relations committee. The Living Land Acknowledgement recognizes that UD’s campuses occupy land originally inhabited by Indigenous peoples and serves as an important step in building relationships with tribal groups in the Delaware watersheds and beyond — relationships based on respect as well as a responsibility to redress centuries of harm. Read the full announcement on UDaily.