Land Acknowledgement

Land Acknowledgement banner.

The University of Rochester sits on the homelands of the Onöndowa’g:a’ (Seneca) Nation, the “Great Hill People” and “Keepers of the Western Door” of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. As an institution, we recognize the injustices that disrupt their stewardship of this land to this day. We honor and respect these lands and the Onöndowa’g:a’ people’s ongoing claims and connections to them.

Seneca Nation logo that states: Seneca Nation of Indians; Keeper of the Western Door.

A land acknowledgement without action has no impact. As a small beginning and gesture, the University of Rochester International Theatre Program commits to actively reaching out to members of the Seneca Nation to begin a relationship by offering them free attendance to any Theatre Program public event or production.

Are you a member of the Seneca Nation of Indians or the Tonawanda Seneca Nation? If you'd like to request free tickets to any of our shows, please contact us.

The History

The historical developments that disrupted Onöndowa’g:a’ stewardship of these lands are rooted in U.S. settler colonialism. During the Revolutionary War, U.S. Generals John Sullivan and James Clinton led a ruthless campaign of military violence, deliberate starvation, and forced displacement against Haudenosaunee people in Western New York, including the Seneca. The University of Rochester sits on lands the Onöndowa'ga:' Nation ceded in 1788 through the unjust and still unredressed terms of the Phelps-Gorham Purchase.

In 1794, the Canandaigua Treaty established terms for peace between the Haudenosaunee nations and the United States, while recognizing Haudenosaunee land rights and sovereignty. Although New York State lawmakers and business interests continued to seize land in violation of this treaty, Haudenosaunee people observe and commemorate annually the Canandaigua Treaty to this day. Today, Haudenosaunee individuals live in Rochester and throughout Western New York. The University is located in proximity to reservations including Tonawanda and Cattaraugus.

What more can you do?

We ask that all who read this and are able, consider contributing to The Seneca Art and Culture Center at Ganondagan or the Haudenosaunee led organization of your choice.

Additional resources:

Territory map displaying the locations of the various nations.