Arizona will open football season with 'land acknowledgement game'

The University of Arizona's home opener against Northern Arizona University is labeled as a land acknowledgement game.'

Both schools' websites feature statements about their campuses being situated on Native land.

University of Arizona  and Northern Arizona University (NAU) will open the college football season with a “land acknowledgment” football game on Sept 2. 

University of Arizona’s school calendar designates its home opener as a “Land Acknowledgement Game.” The game will begin at 7:00 p.m. on the University of Arizona’s campus, the website says

On its about page, the University of Arizona prominently displays a land acknowledgment statement proclaiming that the school is established on the “land and territories of indigenous peoples.”

“Today, Arizona is home to 22 federally recognized tribes, with Tucson being home to the O’odham and the Yaqui,” the statement says. 

[RELATED: WATCH: Professor defends his controversial land acknowledgment statement after campus-wide backlash]

“Committed to diversity and inclusion, the University strives to build sustainable relationships with sovereign Native Nations and Indigenous communities through education offerings, partnerships, and community service.”

Campus Reform reached out to NAU’s athletic department for comment on it’s team’s participation in the “land acknowledgment” game. NAU said it could not comment because it had no control over the decision.

“This is an away game for us, and Northern Arizona doesn’t have input into marketing or promotions for games when we are on the road,” Northern Arizona University Associate Athletic Director for Communications Monica Cowbrough said, deferring to the University of Arizona.

NAU’s website features its own land acknowledgment statement to acknowledge the relationship between “Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories.” 

“Northern Arizona University sits at the base of the San Francisco Peaks, on homelands sacred to Native Americans throughout the region,” the statement says. “We honor their past, present, and future generations, who have lived here for millennia and will forever call this place home.”

NAU encourages the statement to be read at gatherings and events on its campus such as “official university ceremonies, sporting events, public lectures, performances, and conferences.”

Universities nationwide continue to signal via land acknowledgment statements. 

In August, Campus Reform reported on the University of Southern Maine unveiling a mural on behalf of Native American culture indicating that the school and the city of Portland are on Wabanaki Confederacy territory. 

[RELATED: University of Southern Maine pays nearly $10k for mural to affirm school sits on ‘Wabanaki Land’]

In 2021, the University of Illinois Chicago placed “land acknowledgment” floor stickers around campus to bring back Native American history in modern America, Campus Reform covered

Other prestigious schools such as Cornell, Yale, Princeton, and MIT all utilize land acknowledgment statements to recognize alleged past injustices done to Native Americans, Campus Reform has reported.

Campus Reform reached also out to the University of Arizona and its athletic department. This article will be updated accordingly.