Stewardship Statement

The University of Northern Iowa released its Mission Stewardship Statement in 2021 to recognize the original caretakers of the land on which the university sits and to honor Native and Indigenous Peoples in our work on campus and throughout the community.

Dear Native and Indigenous Communities of Iowa and Beyond:

The University of Northern Iowa honors the ancestral stewards of the land on which our university rests. Among these stewards are the Báxoǰe or Bah Kho-Je (Iowa), oθaakiiwaki‧hina‧ki (Sauk) and Meškwahki·aša·hina (Fox), Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (Sioux), Umóⁿhoⁿ (Omaha), and Hocąk (Ho-Chunk), as well as those tribal nations who are contemporary caretakers of land in Iowa, including the Meskwaki: Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa. We acknowledge the sovereignty of your tribal nations and the violent and painful histories of removal and dispossession as the original caretakers of the land.

As an institution of higher learning now stewarding the land of ancestral caretakers, we hold responsibility to ensure the histories and cultures of Native and Indigenous Peoples are woven into the fabric of our mission as we endeavor to create an institution that is welcoming to and inclusive of all. As guardians and creators of knowledge, the University of Northern Iowa also recognizes the importance of integrating Native and Indigenous culture in our community outreach and engagement efforts. We seek to live our responsibility of mission stewardship through collaboration based on mutual trust, care, and learning.

What do we hope you see from the University of Northern Iowa through living our responsibility of mission stewardship? What stories do we hope you will share? Through the work we do every day to live our mission, the University of Northern Iowa aspires for you to see a community that:

Honors Native and Indigenous People and Culture. We will continue growing and evolving policies, practices, and educational and training programs that promote the university as a destination for students, faculty, and staff to experience a truly welcoming and inclusive living, learning, and working environment.

Lives the 7th Generation Principle. Native and Indigenous Peoples all over the world live the 7th Generation Principle, which is a guiding philosophy to carefully consider how actions of past generations impact our present-day lives and how our actions today will impact the lives of future generations. We affirm our responsibility to honor the wisdom of the generations before us while taking responsibility for the impact of our actions in the present on generations to come.  

Does Good for the People and Communities We Serve. Education, research, and service are the core of our charge as an institution of higher learning; these acts of moral and ethical responsibility hold us accountable to the people and communities we serve. We will continue to be agents of good, committed to serving the needs of students, industries, and communities across Iowa and beyond.

Embraces Stewardship of Our Mission and Land. Many Native and Indigenous Peoples live a spiritual connection to land, seeing themselves as part of the land and embracing a personal responsibility to nurture and sustain the natural environment. We recognize a sustainable natural environment is essential for public health and the long-term vitality of our university, and we will continue to assess and integrate environmental practices in our work. We will also see ourselves as active agents in mission attainment; that our work is defining UNI’s present impact while shaping the future of our university for generations to come.   

On October 8, 2018, Native and Indigenous communities across Iowa gathered at the Iowa State Capitol Building for the signing of the State of Iowa’s Indigenous Peoples Day proclamation, declaring the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples Day. In the proclamation, Governor Kim Reynolds affirms the State of Iowa “seeks to promote practices and policies that honor the state’s Indigenous roots, history, and contributions, and reflect the experiences of Indigenous Peoples, to ensure greater access and opportunity.” As a public university committed to the people and communities of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa is proud to honor you as the original caretakers of the land on which our faculty, staff, and students deliver our mission to create a strong, vibrant, and inclusive state in the present and for generations to come.