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This Land Was
Already Loved

The Program for Native American Studies at West Virginia University will host leaders of federally-recognized Shawnee, Lenape (Delaware), and Cherokee nations and the Haudenosaunee Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. These esteemed leaders will discuss their nations’ ancestral, cultural, and historical connections to the place now called West Virginia. 

October 9th & 10th, 2023 / Free & Open to the Public - more details below

Register for Fall Events

Photo by Danny Hoover, Morgantown, WV. View from Spruce Knob, elevation 4,863 ft., the highest point in West Virginia.

About This Land Was Already Loved:
Native Leaders discuss their Nations’ Connection to Place
a WVU Native American Studies Forum

Leaders of several Native Nations will convene at West Virginia University to share their Nations’ connection to the region and this beautiful place known today as West Virginia, “The Mountain State.”

These leaders are being welcomed to campus, situated upon Indigenous ancestral land, to discuss what their nations feel is most important for West Virginians to know. This is an opportunity for leaders to share in their own words, important stories, histories, perspectives, and outlooks for the future. The Forum is conceptualized out of concern for justice and countering generations of cultural erasure in the region. “This Land Was Already Loved” provides a key step forward in education, giving substance and meaningfulness to Indigenous land acknowledgement.

  • October 9th & 10th, 2023
  • Location: WVU Campus & Virtual 
  • Cost: Free & Open to the Public
  • Registration required -  Click here to Register

Monday, Oct. 9, 2023: Indigenous People’s Day Events

WVU Native American Studies Peace Tree Ceremony

11:30AM-1:00PM EST, at the Peace Tree, outside Martin Hall, downtown WVU Campus*

Tadodaho Sidney Hill, Onondaga Nation, Haudenosaunee Confederacy, will preside (*rain location: Gluck Theater, WVU Mountainlair Student Union)

Keynote Presentation

6:00-7:30PM EST, in the Gluck Theater, WVU Mountainlair Student Union

“Truth to Power: History from Indigenous Perspectives” by Faithkeeper Oren Lyons,  Turtle Clan, Onondaga Nation, Haudenosaunee Confederacy

Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023: All-day Public Forum 

This Land Was Already Loved

9:00AM-6:00PM EST, Blue Ballroom, WVU Mountainlair Student Union

Leaders of several Native Nations with historical, ancestral and current connections to the land now known as West Virginia will present, sharing insights along with outlooks for the future. Our esteemed guests include:

Tadodaho Sidney Hill and Faithkeeper Oren Lyons, both of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy,

Shawnee Tribe Chief Ben Barnes,

Eastern Shawnee Tribe Chief Glenna Wallace,

Delaware Nation President Deborah Dotson,

Delaware Tribe of Indians Chief Brad KillsCrow,

Cherokee Nation representative Catherine Foreman Gray,

along with singer John Block (Seneca Nation)

and musician Boe Nakakakena Harris (Turtle Mountain Chippewa).

Registration Required

Our Partners

Numerous enthusiastic partners are assisting Native American Studies in carrying out this historic endeavor. The West Virginia Humanities Council has awarded a major grant and additional support is provided by WVU Honors College, WVU Humanities Center, WVU Program for Leadership Studies, WVU Libraries, WVU Extension, the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex and the West Virginia Dept. of Arts, Culture & History, and other organizations and individuals, including Morgantown’s Community Coalition for Social Justice, the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church Committee on Native American Ministries, and the Monongalia Friends Meeting (Quakers).

Department of West Virginia Arts, Culture and History logo with five tall rectangles that at the bottom are cut out in the shape of mountains.
WVU Libraries Logo
WVU Leadership Studies Program
United Methodist Church
Commission on Native American Ministries