MLA 2023 Annual Conference Connecting the Dots


Land Acknowledgment Statement for Annual Conference in Kalamazoo

As those in the library profession gather to learn and work together, we wish to recognize the Council of the Three Fires – the Ojibwe, the Odawa, and the Potawatomi, whose traditional land we will gather on at our 2023 Annual Conference.

“Kalamazoo” itself is derived from the Anishinaabe word meaning to surround with smoke, and reflects the way the mist rises off the Kalamazoo River. Kalamazoo rests on Potawatomi land – specifically, on the traditional land of Match-e-be-nash-she-wish and his people.

To recognize the land is an expression of gratitude and appreciation, and also a way of honoring the elders and native inhabitants, both past and present, who have lived and worked on the land from time long-established. We recognize the painful history of genocide, displacement, migration and settlement that brings us together.

MLA is dedicated to improving community relationships and making our organization a more supportive and inclusive place for Native and Indigenous voices and perspectives. We encourage everyone to learn the histories of this land, to look at who has and does not have access to its resources, and to examine your own place, abilities, and obligations within this process of reparative work that is necessary to promote a more equitable and socially just world.

Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Potawatomi IndiansTo show our commitment, MLA has taken action and have added Indigenous resources and history of this region on our event website, and will provide a small donation to the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Potawatomi Indians (Gun Lake Tribe).

Through these small actions, MLA will continue to recognize and support the sovereignty of Michigan’s Indian nations and Indigenous Peoples when we gather to learn and work together.

Thank you very much.


To learn more, please visit these websites:

Resources at the Kalamazoo Public Library

Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish - Michigan Reservation 1821-1829

Kalamazoo's First Residents - Our Native Americans

Other Resources

Indians of Kalamazoo County

Gun Lake Tribe

Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan

1840 Forced Relocation

Gun Lake Tribe Historical Timeline


Uniting the Michigan Library Community

MLA is proud to partner with organizations serving the library community.

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