A single garment

Maybe we spend too much of our national budget building military bases around the world, rather than bases of genuine concern and understanding. All this is simply to say that all life is interrelated. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality; tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

Martin Luther King, Jr., “A Christian Sermon on Peace” (1967)

We are here to educate, not forgive. We are here to enlighten, not accuse.

Willie Johns, Brighton Seminole Reservation, Florida

Land Acknowledgement and History Statement

Emory University is located on Muscogee (Creek) land. Emory University was founded in 1836, during a period of sustained oppression, land dispossession, and forced removals of Muscogee (Creek) and Ani’yunwi’ya (Cherokee) peoples from Georgia and the Southeast. In the First Treaty of Indian Springs (January 8th, 1821), signed by the US government and the Muscogee Creek Nation, the Muscogee Creek were forced to relinquish the land which is now present-day DeKalb County and the home of Emory’s first campus, Oxford College, as well as the main campus on Clifton Road.

By all accounts, this was a coerced treaty. At the treaty’s signing, this tract of ceded land (included within 116 on map) became part of the State of Georgia. In 1822, parts of the land ceded in the 1821 treaty area were incorporated as DeKalb County; this includes the land where Emory University’s main campus (established 1917) is located. The town of Covington (founded 1822) also falls within the 1821 treaty area, and is the home of Emory’s Oxford College (founded 1836). Muscogee Creeks who chose to remain in the southeast were forced to move west into the Upper Creek towns in Alabama after their land was ceded. Many Lower Creeks living in the ceded area left Georgia and relocated in or near Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma).

This statement was developed by Emory faculty Professor Craig Womack and Professor Debra Vidali, through consultation with leading historians of this region, including Historian of Emory University Professor Gary Hauk. Emory University has not yet adopted an official land acknowledgement. For additional statements, in different voices, regarding what it means to recognize, experience, and acknowledge a relationship to the land that we are on and what it means to acknowledge and connect with the histories of this land and its peoples, please visit Native American and Indigenous Engagement at Emory.