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Native American Heritage: Land Acknowledgement


Native American Heritage Month

Gateway Land Acknowledgement


Indian Land Cessions by Sam B. Hilliard

This map, made by Tumblr user sunisup, combines a series of maps from Louisiana State University geographer Sam B. Hilliard, based on primary US government sources. What they show in time-lapse is the rapid collapse in native land holdings — marked in green — between 1784 and 1895:

The US's century-long destruction of Native American land, in one animated map
By Zack Beauchamp Feb 23, 2015 for Vox

About Land Acknowledgement

Honoring Original Indigenous Inhabitants: Land Acknowledgement 

- The National Museum of the American Indian

We gratefully acknowledge the Native Peoples on whose ancestral homelands we gather, as well as the diverse and vibrant Native communities who make their home here today.

—NMAI Land Acknowledgement

Land acknowledgment is a traditional custom that dates back centuries in many Native nations and communities. Today, land acknowledgments are used by Native Peoples and non-Natives to recognize Indigenous Peoples who are the original stewards of the lands on which we now live. Before public events and other important gatherings hosted by the National Museum of the American Indian, a speaker offers this acknowledgment displayed in the quote container on behalf of everyone present.

After millennia of Native history, and centuries of displacement and dispossession, acknowledging original Indigenous inhabitants is complex. Many places in the Americas have been home to different Native Nations over time, and many Indigenous people no longer live on lands to which they have ancestral ties. Even so, Native Nations, communities, families, and individuals today sustain their sense of belonging to ancestral homelands and protect these connections through Indigenous languages, oral traditions, ceremonies, and other forms of cultural expression. The museum's acknowledgment is intended to recognize the Indigenous peoples who have lived where we now work over the longspan of human history and the large contemporary Native population that lives in the Washington area and New York City today.

When people ask for guidance in making land acknowledgments, we suggest reaching out directly to local Indigenous communities and to Native Nations forcibly removed from the area in the past to ask how they want to be recognized. Land acknowledgments can be spoken at the beginning of public and private gatherings, from school programs and sporting events to town halls.

Making a land acknowledgment should be motivated by genuine respect and support for Native Peoples. Speaking and hearing words of recognition is an important step in creating collaborative, accountable, continuous, and respectful relationships with Indigenous nations and communities.

A Guide to Indigenous Land Acknowledgment 

- National Governance Center

Native Land Website

Native Land Digital is a Canadian not-for-profit organization, incorporated in December 2018. Native Land Digital is Indigenous-led, with an Indigenous Executive Director and Board of Directors who oversee and direct the organization. Numerous non-Indigenous people also contribute as members of our Advisory Council. The Board of Directors govern finances, set priorities, and appoint staff members as required.

How To Use

There are a number of ways to use this website.
You can use it directly by entering your address, or by mousing or clicking around on the map to see the relevant territories in a location.

Once you click, a number of links will appear with different nation names. By clicking on those links, you will be taken to a page specifically about that nation, language, or treaty, where you can view some sources, give feedback, and learn a little more. We are always trying to expand our resources on these pages.

You can also export the map to a printable image file, turn map labels on or off to see non-Indigenous borders and towns, and select or search from a dropdown of territories, treaties, and languages.

We also have mobile apps available for iOS and Android. To use these, you can enter an address into the search bar at the top of the app, or you can press anywhere on the map to “drop a pin” and see more about the location you’ve selected.

Disclaimer from Native Land

This map does not represent or intend to represent official or legal boundaries of any Indigenous nations. To learn about definitive boundaries, contact the nations in question.

Also, this map is not perfect -- it is a work in progress with tons of contributions from the community.

-From the Website.  

Wisconsin Tribal Lands Map ca. 1800

Map shared on
This map is an adaptation of the Native Nations Map from The Ways.