Land Acknowledgement

The San Diego Museum of Man recognizes that it sits on the ancestral homeland of the Kumeyaay Nation. The Museum extends its respect and gratitude to the Kumeyaay peoples who have lived here since time immemorial.

Why does the Museum have a land acknowledgment? 

The San Diego Museum of Man’s mission is to inspire human connections by exploring the human experience. Today, we recognize this mission can only authentically occur in the context of truthfulness, transparency, and reconciliation around the ways in which our museum participated in colonial oppression. This process in the Museum is called our decolonizing initiatives, and it is how we are working to shift historically oppressive practices to build a more inclusive and socially conscious museum. One of the steps in our decolonizing process includes an Indigenous Peoples land acknowledgement. This statement recognizes that the Museum sits on the ancestral homeland of the Kumeyaay Nation, the Indigenous Peoples of this land, who have lived here since time immemorial.

What is the purpose of a land acknowledgement?  

A land acknowledgement is a formal statement, a public recognition, of the Indigenous Peoples who have been dispossessed and displaced from their ancestral homelands and territories due to a variety of colonial and historical reasons. This statement acknowledges that an organization, a city, a park, or any other structure was built, and operates, on Indigenous Peoples’ ancestral homelands.

Why are land acknowledgments important? 

Land acknowledgments are not about placing blame. These statements are the first step towards building a more inclusive future where we eliminate the ongoing erasure of Indigenous Peoples’ voices, lives, and history, globally. Land acknowledgements can be an entry point and pathway for education. Our land acknowledgement statement may be a museum visitor’s first experience hearing about the Indigenous Peoples in the area, which gives the Museum an opportunity to seed the path for learning and for respect to grow.

These statements are a testimonial of honor paying respect to the original Indigenous Peoples of the land and uplifting their presence in society today. Acknowledging the Indigenous Peoples of the land is more than saying a few sentences—it is displaying humility, building trust, and being accountable for working towards a more inclusive and equitable future.

How will a land acknowledgment show up in the Museum? 

Museum land acknowledgments, which recognize the Kumeyaay Nation, are present in a variety of areas within the Museum. For example, there are land acknowledgments within exhibitions, museum admissions, the website, staff email signatures, at the beginning of tours, during media interviews, fundraising events, and before various consultations and our Board of Trustee meetings.

An official land acknowledgment is one of many steps the San Diego Museum of Man, and other organizations nationally, are taking to build a more equitable, inclusive, anti-colonial, and racially just space. For more information around our decolonizing initiatives, please visit our decolonizing initiatives webpage.