What is a Land Acknowledgement?
The Seeking Justice Ministry Team of the SCNC Board of Directors invites local congregations to begin and continue learning from the indigenous people in the communities they serve.
If you’ve attended a justice-oriented march or rally in the past year or so, you may have noticed the event started with a land acknowledgment. This isn’t an opportunity for the mayor of a city to welcome participants and visitors. It’s a strategy and practice to actively disrupt the settler-colonial narrative, and honor Indigenous resistance. Often just a few sentences long, a land acknowledgment takes a moment or longer to recognize the indigenous peoples who were and still are the original caretakers of the land. This practice reminds us that we are all on stolen indigenous land.
Many of us are unfamiliar with the history and ongoing treatment of indigenous peoples around the world, or even in our own communities. What we learned in school was often incomplete or without the violent details, and that was if you even learned about local indigenous peoples at all.
Do you know whose land your church is occupying? To start, visit: https://native-land.ca/
Native Land is a resource to learn more about Indigenous territories, languages, lands, and ways of life. We welcome you to our site.
“There have always been indigenous peoples in the spaces we call home, and there always will be,” Kanyon Sayers-Roods, a Mutsun Ohlone activist in Northern California. Acknowledging the harm and displacement of indigenous people is not enough. Indigenous resistance continues today, from protecting sacred sites from development in Long Beach, California, to stopping massive oil development in Minnesota.
What challenges do the indigenous people in your community face today?
Some congregations have started implementing a Land Acknowledgement at the start of their services or events, either in consultation with local indigenous people, or crafted from one of the many versions posted online. The Seeking Justice Ministry Team of the Southern California Conference Board of Directors invites local congregations to begin and continue learning from the indigenous people in the communities they serve.