Provisional Land Acknowledgement
SVC acknowledges we are on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish Peoples, especially on Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, Samish Indian Nation, Nooksack Indian Tribe, and Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe.
SVC commits to understanding the longstanding histories of each of these nations and our place within these histories, to support students from each of these nations who attend SVC to pursue their educational goals and to build relationships that support indigenous organizations.
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/