Land Acknowledgement

Sunday, May 21, 2023
by Samuel H. Speers, Associate Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life and Contemplative Practices


Dear people,

Today is a glorious day.


An in-vocation is

a calling-in.

We are called in—to the fullness of this moment.

Let us be fully here:

I invite you to take a moment right now, breathe, and simply take this in.


We come together as the families and chosen families of 620 shining human beings.

We come together to witness and celebrate your commencement—your new beginning—

as your time in this place comes to a close and a new path opens ahead of you.

We come together to bless you on your way.


As we celebrate and mark this passage,

may we sense anew today:

we are made of love

and made for love

on this fragile and fertile earth.


As we gather in this place: We acknowledge that Vassar stands upon the homelands of the Munsee Lenape, Indigenous peoples who have an enduring connection to this place despite being forcibly displaced by European colonization. Munsee Lenape peoples continue today as the Stockbridge-Munsee Community in Wisconsin, the Delaware Tribe and the Delaware Nation in Oklahoma, and the Munsee-Delaware Nation in Ontario. This acknowledgment, however, is insufficient[,] without our reckoning with the reality that every member of the Vassar community since 1861[,] has benefited from these Native peoples’ displacement[;] and it is hollow[,] without our efforts to counter the effects of structures that have long enabled—and that still perpetuate—injustice against Indigenous Americans. To that end[:] we commit to build and sustain relationships with Native communities; to expand opportunities at Vassar for Native students as well as Native faculty and other employees; and to collaborate with Native nations to know better the Indigenous peoples, past and present, who care for this land.