Understanding the Land Acknowledgment

What is a Land Acknowledgment?

A Land Acknowledgment is more than a mere formality; it is a formal statement that recognizes and respects Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards of the land. It embodies the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories. Northwestern’s Native American and Indigenous Peoples Steering Group elaborates on what this means in their unique context.

Why Acknowledge the Land?

To recognize the land is an expression of gratitude and appreciation to those whose territory you reside on. It’s a way of honoring the Indigenous people who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial. Importantly, land acknowledgments are not confined to a historical context. Colonialism is an ongoing process, and acknowledging the land is a means of building mindfulness of our present participation.

Land Acknowledgement 1

“We would like to begin by acknowledging that we gather today on the traditional territory of [Indigenous Peoples’ name(s)]. We honor their stewardship of this land throughout generations and recognize their ongoing connection to this place. We pay our respects to their elders, past and present, and express gratitude for the wisdom, resilience, and contributions of [Indigenous Peoples’ name(s)].

We also acknowledge the painful history of colonization and its impact on Indigenous communities. We are committed to learning from the past, understanding the present, and working towards a more just and inclusive future.

As we engage in our activities here today, let us do so with a deep appreciation for the land we are on and a commitment to building positive relationships with the Indigenous Peoples of this territory. May our actions reflect the principles of reconciliation, respect, and collaboration.”

The acknowledgment expresses a commitment to honoring the ancestral stewards of the land and acknowledges the diversity among the Indigenous peoples who are the contemporary custodians. It emphasizes the rich cultural and linguistic tapestry of the Indigenous communities connected to the land. Overall, land acknowledgments are a way to show respect, promote awareness, and foster a spirit of reconciliation and collaboration with Indigenous peoples.

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