ASW Senate passed a bill implementing consensual and tribally-informed indigenous land acknowledgement at Westminster College during its last general meeting Monday.
The bill “ASW Temporary Lands Acknowledgement” shows support for the creation of a campus-wide land acknowledgment. This acknowledgment aims to serve as a sign of respect for indigenous peoples.
“As ASW leaders, it is our duty to reflect the beliefs of the students we represent,” said Daud Mumin, first-senator and sponsor of the legislation.
The bill comes after Westminster junior Eliza Van Dyk presented a resolution to the Senate to implement this change across campus.
When resolutions are drafted, change is not immediate because ASW Senate doesn’t have the power to enact it into administration-level legislation.
However, when resolutions are passed it allows senators to advocate for the resolution on an administration-level — who can then decide whether to implement it into policy.
Since Dyk’s resolution was passed in the Fall 2019 semester, there hasn’t been any action done by the administration. This, senators say, is what encouraged them to draft this bill.
“We cannot rely on the administration’s inaction on the creation of a land acknowledgement,” Mumin said.
Unlike a resolution, when a bill is passed it makes immediate change within the branches of ASW. Through this land acknowledgement bill, ASW will implement the changes immediately.
“Until the college is able to create a better and consensually-informed land acknowledgment, a temporary ASW standard land acknowledgment should be created,” said Jose Ortiz, principal author of the bill.
Until a more tribally informed land acknowledgement can be made with the help of Westminster, the Associated Students of Westminster would like to give a temporary land acknowledgment.
We would like to acknowledge that this event (or meeting) is taking place on the traditional lands of the Goshute, Shoshone, and Ute peoples, past and present.
The land acknowledgment is important as it helps us to recognize the racist and suppressed history of the United States around the land and its original occupants.-ASW Temporary Lands Acknowledgment (Bill WS 2020.S01)
Both Mumin and Ortiz argue ASW should have this temporary land acknowledgment to “show respect for indigenous peoples and knowledge of the United States’ racist and suppressed history,” according to the bill.
Mumin, who will serve as vice president next academic year, said he’s excited to implement this policy for the ASW board.
“Land acknowledgment highlights and raises awareness of histories that are suppressed, forgotten or unknown,” Mumin said.