What is it?
A Land Acknowledgement is a formal recognition of any and all original peoples and protectors of the land, waterways, and their connection to it. Honoring whose land you’re gathering on is a sign of respect, and showing gratitude to the land helps heal, and shows a commitment to healing years of colonial displacement, genocide, and environmental devastation. Practicing land acknowledgements can help begin a process of reconciliation between the majority of our existence, and the continual displacement of Indigenous Peoples.
As gentrification and displacement become words too many communities are becoming familiar with, it is important to also acknowledge those that were first displaced and eradicated for expansion and “development.”
Emergent, environmental and social justice spaces have a penchant for using words like “decolonization, cultural appropriation, restorative justice”. But how can we commit to these things genuinely without acknowledging and centering those that are, and were the original peoples and caretakers of the land?
Why should we make an acknowledgment?
In almost every Indigenous community, the people have always honored their guests by recognizing them and their nations/customs, as well as their hosts when a guest in other territories.
In short: It’s time we share this practice and call upon others to do meaningfully the same.
What could I say?
This is an example and be aware, not everyone should be making acknowledgments. We encourage you to learn from the Indigenous communities whose land you’re on to learn the specific protocols for acknowledgment.
“We are gathered today to honor and call this land by its original name: _______ (insert traditional name here).
_________ (traditional name) was, and is home to the __________ (insert original peoples/tribes here); the original guardians of this territory.
We uplift, honor, and speak the traditional names of the land and people to remind this community and all other visitors, that these peoples did, and do still exist. Without their committed stewardship, we would not be enjoying this place today.
_________ (thank you in traditional language if possible)/Thank you.
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