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American Indian and Indigenous Relations Committee

2021-2022 UDARI Committee Grants Award Winner

The Indigenous Programming committee will be utilizing UD Anti-Racism Initiative’s grant funding to employ two graduate students for research tasks for the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters. These graduate students are organizing student support for the living land acknowledgement, managing data collection, and organizing events on federal and tribal law in relation to the University of Delaware’s history of dispossession of Indigenous lands and other related issues. Additionally, these students will be researching and writing UD’s land grab history and a glossary of key terms, which will be housed on the UDARI webpage. These two graduate students will have a critical role in organizing students to transform UD’s institutional norms and culture towards accountability regarding its colonial legacy.


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 Lenni Lenape and Nanticoke.


  • Develop land acknowledgment to be incorporated into all University of Delaware meetings
  • Build relationships with indigenous communities in the watershed and beyond
  • Expand and promote research in indigenous cultures and histories, and foster teaching and research exchanges between UD and indigenous communities
  • Expand the presence of indigenous faculty and students
  • CONSULT AND COLLABORATE with Indigenous communities in the Delaware watersheds and beyond; foster relationships based on respect and reciprocity.
  • GUIDE UD’s institutional adoption of the Living Land Acknowledgement and promote implementation of the recommended Institutional Action Steps.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.
  • 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.


Chair: Pascha Bueno-Hansen (Women & Gender Studies)
  • Jocelyn Alcantara-Garcia (Chemistry/Hagley Art Conservation)
  • Geoff Bil (History)
  • Kelsey Chambers (Center for Counseling & Student Development)
  • Ken Cohen (History, Director of Museum Studies)
  • Jon Cox (Art & Design)
  • Jeremy Firestone (School of Marine Science & Policy)
  • Jessica Horton (Art History)
  • Maureen Iplenski (History, PhD Student)
  • McKay Jenkins (English)
  • Gil Johnson (Student Centers, Senior Associate Director)
  • Rebecca Johnson Melvin (Library, Museums & Press/Special Collections)
  • Barry Joyce (History/Social Studies Education Co-Coordinator)
  • John Jungck (Biological Sciences)
  • Emma Korein (Graduate Student)
  • Bonita McNatt (external)
  • Jeannie Pfaelzer (English)
  • Sara Swett (Graduate Student)
  • Nena Todd (DHCH, external)
  • Anna Wik (Plant & Soil Sciences)
  • Amanda Zehnder (Special Collections and Museums)

Living Land Acknowledgement

On November 1, 2021, UD’s Faculty Senate voted to formalized a Living Land Acknowledgement, prepared and presented by the Indigenous Programming committee. The Living Land Acknowledgement recognizes that UD’s campus exists on land originally inhabited by Indigenous peoples and which serves as an important step in building relationships with tribal groups in Delaware — relationships that are based on respect as well as a responsibility to redress centuries of harm. With this motion, the University commits to working further with the UD Anti-Racism Initiative to identify action steps that will support academic opportunities, cultural expression, well-being and financial partnerships for Indigenous peoples.

For more information on the the Living Land Acknowledgement, please see the related webpage on the UDARI site.