The goal of the WVU Art in the Libraries' Indigenous Appalachia exhibit is to increase awareness of the contributions of Indigenous Appalachians to the region’s shared history and present while also recognizing continuing injustices faced by Indigenous people. The exhibit is intentionally curated with the contribution of Indigenous Appalachians alongside scholars of Native American Studies.
The exhibit does not presume to identify every Indigenous site, Nation, or event that has been present or is occurring in the vast Appalachian region. The University and this exhibit recognize the present-day existence of Indigenous People on the WVU Campus and in our region of Appalachia.
WVU, with its statewide institutional presence, resides on land that includes ancestral territories of the Shawnee, Lenape (or Delaware), Cherokee, and Haudenosaunee (or Iroquois--the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk, Tuscarora), and other Indigenous peoples.
In acknowledging this, we recognize and appreciate all those Indigenous nations whose territories we are living on and working in. Indigenous peoples have been in the land currently known as West Virginia since time immemorial. It is important that we understand both the context that has brought our university community to reside on this land, and our place within this long history.
We also recognize that colonialism is a current, ongoing process, and as scholars seeking truth and understanding, we need to be mindful of our present participation in this process.
Note: Developed in 2019 with input from Native American Studies Program Committee members (especially Dr. Charlotte Hoelke), to be read at public events, included in printed programs and syllabi, and shared with others throughout WVU. We will continue to consult with tribal nations to be as inclusive, relevant, and accurate as possible, modifying this acknowledgement as needed.