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Land Acknowledgement & the Hallowed Ground Project

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice > Updates

Students, faculty, and staff are working together to transform how our community collectively remembers and engages with Indigenous erasure* and genocide and the history of slavery and racial injustice on what is the current campus of Goucher College. Students are engaged in all aspects of this project, including archival and archaeological research, classes, outreach programs, and memorialization.

Goucher College established The Hallowed Ground Project in 2018 to examine the legacies of slavery and racial injustice on the land that the college occupies. As part of this initiative, the college created a land acknowledgement statement.

*Indigenous Erasure is a series of processes whereby Indigenous peoples are “disappeared” from landscapes and narratives. More information can be found in the link below for the Land Acknowledgement Process Paper, p. 2-3, from the Land Acknowledgement Project Overview and Resource Guide, Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC), p. 10.



In 2021, Goucher College began the process of creating a land acknowledgement statement that was composed in dialogue with and in response to the words and perspectives of members from the Susquehannock peoples, the Piscataway Indian Nation, Piscataway Conoy Tribe, and the Choptico Band of the Piscataway. The land acknowledgement statement is considered an important step in establishing and mending relationships with Indigenous peoples.

While the college did not ask for a process paper—a document detailing how the project was created—we, the researchers/authors of the statement, felt that it was necessary to inform the public how and why this statement was written.

The land acknowledgement statement was written after numerous hours of consultations with Indigenous elders and members. Each word was specifically chosen based on those conversations.

Read the land acknowledgement and process paper.

Actionable Change

At Goucher College, we are dedicated to creating authentic relationships with Indigenous peoples, and we are committed to actionable measures that support and benefit local Indigenous peoples:

  • Making institutional resources available to tribes (i.e., the library)
  • Living responsibly on the land (environmental sustainability)
  • Repatriating Indigenous artifacts
  • Creating a library guide on Indigenous history, culture, and resources
  • Creating exhibits focusing on the stories of the land and its Indigenous inhabitants
  • Adding new titles by Indigenous authors to library collections
  • Working with Indigenous groups and individuals for collaborative opportunities

The Goucher College Library Special Collections & Archives will feature an exhibit about the process of creating a land acknowledgement statement in the academic year 2023-24, debuting in Fall 2023. Public programming will be planned over the next academic year, some with local Indigenous tribal members, as well as inform the Goucher community about Indigenous histories, traditions, and cultures. The exhibit will open in August 2023 and remain open for the entire academic year.



Reckoning and Reconciliation: Examining Colonialism and Racism on the Landscape


The Hallowed Ground Project at Goucher College was founded in 2018 to better understand the legacies of slavery, colonialism, and racial injustices on the land that Goucher currently occupies. This ongoing, interdisciplinary project seeks to place the narratives of those who were previously excluded from the historical record to its forefront: Indigenous peoples, enslaved and free African Americans, and other marginalized communities. By incorporating the research methodologies of several disciplines, Goucher College will tell a more in-depth account of the past. The land acknowledgement statement and process paper are a part of this initiative. Other initiatives can be found on The Hallowed Ground Project homepage.

Next Steps

We will continue to encourage faculty from multiple disciplines to foster related student research. Goucher College Library Special Collections & Archives will feature an exhibit about the process of creating a land acknowledgement statement in the academic year 2023-24, debuting in Fall 2023. Public programming will be planned throughout the academic year, some with local Indigenous peoples. Other initiatives include a labor acknowledgement statement and conducting more archival and genealogical research. The goals are to find more individuals of those enslaved on Epsom Plantation, learn their stories, and connect to the Descendants. Multi-stage memorialization on campus with the input of the Descendant community and Goucher community members is also being planned. We are connecting with our higher education counterparts to share our learning nationally. This project is currently led by Debbie Harner, with the support of Michelle Hammond, associate vice president for the library and learning commons.