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This Land Was
Already Loved

In October, the Program for Native American Studies at West Virginia University hosted leaders of federally-recognized Shawnee, Lenape (Delaware), and Cherokee nations and the Haudenosaunee Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. These esteemed leaders gave presentations on their nations’ ancestral, cultural, and historical connections to the place now called West Virginia. Videos of their individual presentations are linked below.

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 convened at West Virginia University October 9 & 10, 2023 to share their Nations’ connection to the region and this beautiful place known today as West Virginia, “The Mountain State.” Recordings of their presentations are linked by name, below.

These leaders were welcomed to campus, situated upon Indigenous ancestral land, to discuss what their nations feel is most important for West Virginians to know. This was an opportunity for leaders to share in their own words, important stories, histories, perspectives, and outlooks for the future. The Forum was 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.

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, presided

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 shared their cultural and historical insights, along with outlooks for the future. Access recordings of our esteemed guests' presentations by clicking on the speaker's name, below:

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,

Leaders Panel, "Outlooks for the Future"

Cherokee Nation representative Catherine Foreman Gray,

along with singer John Block (Seneca Nation) and traditional dancer Kayleen Block (Mohawk)

and musician Boe Nakakakena Harris (Turtle Mountain Chippewa).

Watch the full 2023 Fall Forum

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