Full Land Acknowledgement Statement

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls sits on the shared ancestral lands of the Anishinaabe and the Dakota Nations and Tribal Communities. Acknowledging our university’s historical contributions to the disenfranchisement of indigenous communities, we declare a standing commitment towards campus-wide education, increased awareness of current indigenous issues, and the development of sustainable partnerships with indigenous nations of the area.


Our Commitment

Rather than simply creating a land acknowledgement statement, we commit to making education affordable and curriculum relevant, while providing support for indigenous students. To this end, we hereby commit to:

  • creating a scholarship to fund students from tribal backgrounds;
  • providing educational, technical, health, and administrative support and services for indigenous students;
  • providing support and resources for the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging;
  • intentionally creating culturally competent and decolonized curricula.

We further commit to purposefully and thoughtfully expanding our historical awareness of the local and national tribal nations. We seek opportunities for learning and relationships with all stakeholders. To this end, we hereby commit to: 

  • identifying outreach possibilities with indigenous industry leaders;
  • inviting indigenous speakers to campus regularly;
  • developing relationships and partnering with regional tribal colleges;
  • formally acknowledging Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday of October.


Land Act of 1820 (3. Stat. 566) 

  • Require full payment at time of purchase any of the United States’ public domain lands. Led to increased confiscation of indigenous lands.
  • Enos and Reuben Goodrich purchased the land North Hall sits on in 1854, while Nathaniel Powell purchased the land the rest of the university sits on (north of the Falcon Center) in 1856.

First treaty of Prairie du Chien 

  • 1826, when the United States claimed sovereignty over the Dakota and Ojibwe territories

Indian Removal Act of 1830 

  • The government forcibly removed indigenous peoples from their land throughout the region, incorporating said land into the Wisconsin Territory.

1837 Land Cession Treaties with the Ojibwe & Dakota

  • The first major land cessions by Dakota and Ojibwe people, includes what is now Pierce and St. Croix Counties.

1842 Wisconsin Land Cession

  • Vast tract of Ojibwe land in Northern Wisconsin ceded to U.S.

Normal School Fund 

  • In 1848, the Wisconsin state Constitution supported the “Normal” (teacher colleges) and “common” (K-12) schools.

The Swamp Land Act of 1850

  • 3 million acres of land acquired in Wisconsin from above treaties sold to be drained and reclaimed.
  • In 1865, a Wisconsin law was passed which placed half of the swamp lands (1.75 million acres) and half of the proceeds from swamp land sales into the school fund for the benefit of the Normal schools. Common schools were deemed adequately funded during this time.
  • The money was used for development of the Normal School in River Falls in 1874. Platteville had the first state Normal school in 1866.