YOU ARE ON STOLEN LAND
A Necessary Land Acknowledgement
Eckerd College celebrates the beautiful campus that it calls home and teaches the importance of environmental stewardship as a core value. An important part of this commitment is acknowledging the Indigenous communities, past and present, who are the traditional custodians of this land.
Eckerd College acknowledges that its campus lies within the traditional homelands of the Seminole people, as well as that of the Tocobaga and other historical groups whose history on this land extends back more than 12,000 years. We recognize the profound resilience of Seminole, Miccosukee, Muscogee, Choctaw, and people of other Native groups who, despite centuries of colonial oppression, continue to call Florida home. As a campus community, we commit to learning and teaching Native American history and culture, recognizing and honoring the presence of Indigenous people, and caring for the land that has become our home to the best of our ability.
You might be wondering, isn't Eckerd built on fill land? And the answer is largely, yes.
This does not mean, however, that the water space where our school is was not an important resource for indigenous communities. It is important to understand that this space was used as fishing and trapping grounds for communities that came before us. People have also lived on this land as far back as 14,000 years ago, which means there were people using and inhabiting this land during times when the coastline extended much farther out into the bay and this area was naturally dry land.
When thinking about land use we should also challenge what our own definitions of "property" are. Just because it could not be used for profit directly, does not mean this space was not valued. Many of our definitions of property are informed by our economic system, capitalism. When considering this topic we ask that you might reflect on and challenge the narrative you've likely been told in regard to land ownership. Reflect upon this damaging narrative in the context of BIPOC individuals and communities.
For more Florida specific resources go to the bottom of our Eckerd page and the Next Steps pageAnd keep in mind that that this isn't a full picture of the indigenous history of this land