The University was designed to educate southern white gentlemen. It was built by enslaved laborers, on Monacan tribal land, and enslaved and free Black people provided the labor and capital that supported the students and faculty through the Civil War. In the twentieth century, the University was a pioneer in the eugenics movement and supported segregated schools. The education denied to Indigenous nations was publicly acknowledged by what is now recognized as the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2007, yet few institions have made significant progress on increasing the representation of Indigenous students.
We at UVA will continue to seek opportunities to engage in meaningful relationship building for our shared futures and acknowledge with respect that we live, learn, and work on the traditional territory of the Monacan Indian Nation. We pay respect to their elders and knowledge keepers past, present, and emerging.
As we engage greater care and sustainable actions in our relations with many Indigenous nations, we invite you to learn more about the Monacan Indian Nation and encourage you to visit the Monacan Ancestral Museum, located just 50 miles from Charlottesville.
Acknowledgment is a simple, powerful way of showing respect. The practice (which you can learn more about from this Kluge-Ruhe resource) helps to create broader public awareness of the resilience and resistance of Indigenous nations in the face of a more than 500 year history of efforts in the so-called United States to separate Indigenous people from their land, culture, and each other. Acknowledgment by itself is a small gesture. It becomes meaningful when coupled with authentic and sustained relationships. The University has partnered with the Monacan Indian Nation to create a series of land acknowledgment posters. If you would like to request a copy of a poster to display in your office, residence hall, or other space please email our office.
Pictured from Left to Right: MonacanTribal Council Member Sue Elliott, Monacan Citizen Victoria Ferguson, Monacan Tribal Chief Kenneth Branham.
Tribes of Virginia
In recognizing that UVA is on Monacan Land, we also recognize that the University benefits from relationships with additional Indigenous nations and tribes in what is now called Virginia. There is in fact a complex historical-spatial relationship with many Indigenous nations resulting from the specific histories of federal treaties, expulsion, and war. To learn more about each of the federally or state recognized tribes in what is now called Virginia you can visit their websites for more information.
- Mattoponi Tribe
- Pamunkey Tribe
- Chickahominy Tribe
- Chickahominy Indians Eastern Division
- Rappahannock Tribe
- Upper Mattoponi Tribe
- Nansemond Indian Nation
- Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Tribe
- Nottoway Indian Tribe
- Patawomeck Indian Tribe
Additional Educational Resources
- UVA Mellon Indigenous Arts Program
- Monacan Nation Receives Federal Recognition
- The Language Ghost: Linguistic Heritage and Collective Identity Among the Monacan Indians of Central Virginia (Lead Image Source)
- UVA Morven Farm/"Indian Camp" Property
- Monacan Millennium: A Collaborative Archaeology and History of a Virginia Indian People
- Interactive Indigenous Territories, Languages, and Treaties Map
- USDAC Honor Native Land Guide
- Indigenous Land and "Land Grant" Universities
- Exceprt on Jefferson's Legacy and the "Doctrine of Discovery"
- Secretary of the Commonwealth: Virginia Indians
- UVA-Native American Student Union