The American College Health Association (ACHA) is deeply committed to building equitable systems that advance the well-being of our campus communities and the nation’s 19 million college students. As an organization promoting healthy individuals, ACHA values social justice, human dignity, and respect for all. These values shape our mission and drive us to recognize the enduring presence of Indigenous people and their traditional territories in our everyday lives. ACHA acknowledges that its office space, conference sites, and member institutions are located on Indigenous lands. We encourage our members to recognize the Indigenous lands of their campuses as well.
ACHA headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, is located on the ancestral lands of the Nacotchtank (Anacostan) people. Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC share borders along the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers. These river systems are where the Nacotchtank and other tribes once thrived. After the arrival of Europeans, the Indigenous population of the area was ravaged by war and new diseases brought by colonizers. Many survivors were forcibly removed from their ancestral lands and joined other tribes; others were sold into slavery by the colonizers. Today, there are no living Nacotchtank. Their surviving members were adopted into the Piscataway people, losing their original identity and descendancy. The Indigenous people who reside in the Washington, DC area today continue to battle for recognition of their descendant communities.
ACHA encourages its members to visit the websites below to learn more about current Indigenous tribes in the greater Washington, DC area and beyond:
We also encourage visitors to the Washington, DC region to visit the following places to learn more about the area’s and the nation’s historic and current Indigenous populations:
Thank you to the American Library Association (ALA) and the American Indian Library Association (AILA) which provided the overview that informed the text and resources listed above. Content used by permission of the American Library Association, Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services. Thank you to Native Land Digital, whose resources and interactive mapping tool help illustrate and identify Indigenous lands.