Office of the President
March 11, 2021

Charge: Land Acknowledgement Working Group

Committees and Reports

Brown University is committed to developing deeper understandings of the past history and relationships between the institution, Indigenous peoples, and the land on which Brown now sits, as well as engaging in deeper relationships in the present and future with local tribes connected to this land. To more fully express this commitment, the Land Acknowledgement Working Group is responsible for developing recommendations for what “land acknowledgement” means for Brown University through consultation with local tribes, beginning with the Narragansett Indian Tribe, with the goal of recognizing and respecting Indigenous Peoples and their cultural and historical relationships to the land. The development of this land acknowledgement should arise out of a larger process with all relevant partners, including, but not limited to, local tribes and members of Brown's Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative, and be led by Indigenous-centered protocols.

If this process requires a more robust understanding of the historical connections between Indigenous Peoples and the land, the Office of the President will provide support for research assistance. Research would be guided by the developing Tribal Advisory Council and members of the Narragansett Indian Tribe.

Given that careful and comprehensive deliberation is inherent to this process, this working group should produce an interim status report by the end of the academic year and aspire to provide a land acknowledgement recommendation and report to the president by December 31, 2021.


The membership of the Land Acknowledgement Working Group will include members of the Brown University faculty and administration. It will be co-chaired by Russell Carey and Rae Gould and comprise the following members:

  • Russell Carey, Executive Vice President for Planning & Policy
  • Rae Gould, Associate Director, Native American and Indigenous Studies (Nipmuc)
  • Cass Cliatt, Vice President for Communications 
  • Sylvia Carey-Butler, Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity
  • Robert Pruecel, Professor, Department of Anthropology, and Director, Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology
  • Kimonee Burke, PhD student, Department of History (Narragansett)
  • Sherente Harris, RISD/Brown undergraduate student (Narragansett)

This working group will be staffed by Olugbenga Joseph, Assistant to the President for Special Projects.

Membership last updated: 27 October 2021