Provisional Land Acknowledgement
Present day Mount Vernon is located on the traditional and ancestral lands of the Skagit Tribe, and Coast Salish Peoples whose homes are on these lands and along these waters.
Let us also acknowledge the robust Indigenous communities made up of tribal diversity that originate from around the country, and whose journeys have brought them here and to other locations by ways of forced displacement or seeking opportunities.
We recognize and honor that without them we would not have this opportunity to convene in this space and come together in this way. We extend our deep gratitude to the Skagit and Coast Salish Peoples.
Land Acknowledgements are a Responsibility
At Skagit Valley College, this is preceded by relationships with the surrounding Tribal communities and ongoing work to build and offer Native Studies curriculum and programming. The purpose of this is to support Native students and to cultivate an environment of understanding and recognition of shared responsibility between all students, staff, faculty and community.
What are Land Acknowledgements?
“It is important to understand the longstanding history that has brought you to reside on the land, and to seek to understand your place within that history. Land acknowledgments do not exist in a past tense, or historical context: colonialism is a current ongoing process, and we need to build our mindfulness of our present participation.” Northwestern University
Don’t ask an Indigenous person to deliver a “welcome” statement for your organization. Cantemaza McKay (Spirit Lake Nation) explains this very clearly. Check out this land acknowledgment event livestream, and hear his comments at the 27-minute mark.
Build real, authentic relationships with Indigenous people. In addition to normal employment and family obligations, Indigenous people are working to heal traumas, learn their languages, and support their nations. If you reach out for help, lead the conversation by asking an Indigenous person what you can do for them. Chances are, they’re likely overworked and could use your help.
Compensate Indigenous people for their emotional labor. If you do plan to reach out to an Indigenous person or community for help, compensate them fairly. Too often, Indigenous people are asked to perform emotional labor for free.
Understand displacement and how that plays into land acknowledgment. Land acknowledgment is complicated. Remember that the United States government displaced many Tribes from land before treaties were signed.
Resources provided by Native Governance – https://nativegov.org/resources/