Land Acknowledgment

We acknowledge that the ACLU of Indiana exists on the occupied territory of the Myaamia (Miami) and Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo) peoples.  

We recognize that our presence here today is the result of the on-going exclusions and erasure of Indigenous peoples, who were the original stewards of this land. 

We recognize the painful history upon which the state of Indiana was created, and how policies, systems, and structures continue to oppress and erase Indigenous peoples today.  

We acknowledge the lands now known as Indiana were the lands of numerous Indigenous people including the Miami, Potawatomi, Piankeshaw, Wea, Kickapoo, and Shawnee peoples. The state name “Indiana,” means the land of Indians, and derives from the “Indiana Land Company,” which held land ceased from Indigenous peoples in Virginia.  

By the mid-18th century, the Kickapoo lived in two communities, one, the “Vermillion Band,” was east of the Wabash River in Indiana. A series of treaties were used by the federal government to secure the cession of approximately one-third of Indiana in a series of treaties from 1803 to 1809, including land occupied by the Kickapoo in 1809. 

By 1840, only the Miami Nation maintained a stronghold in land and government in what is now Indiana. The Indiana Miami signed an 1854 treaty with the US government making it the only tribe recognized by the State of Indiana post removal. However, in 1899, that federal recognition was illegally stripped by the government. After several attempts to regain federal recognition, the Miami Tribe was forced to incorporate in order to survive as a group and still is without federal recognition today. Descendants of the Miami Tribe who were not forced off of their land are now members of the Miami Nation of Indians of the State of Indiana.

We acknowledge that after Indiana became a state, and for the following two centuries, federal policies such as the inflation of tribal debt were used to displace and dispossess communities of their ancestral lands. Sacred sites have been destroyed, and families and communities have been torn apart through residential boarding schools and relocation programs.  

Our shared history compels us to grapple with this legacy, taking action to interrupt the continued harm of colonialism and genocide and to redress the erasure of Indigenous peoples. 

We reaffirm our commitment to lifting up the culture and protecting the rights of Indigenous peoples in Indiana.  

We support and defend the rights of all Indigenous peoples to retain their specific cultural and religious traditions and practices. We strive to honor Indigenous cultures and traditions and, when possible and appropriate, integrate Indigenous worldviews and values into our approaches and strategies. 

What is a Land Acknowledgment?

A Land Acknowledgment is a formal statement that recognizes and respects Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards of this land and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories. 

Find out whose land you're on: