A land acknowledgment is a formal statement recognizing the unique and enduring relationship between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories.
It is a formal recognition of that brutal, violent, and painful reality and history. It’s a tiny first step in truth, healing, and reconciliation. A land acknowledgment isn’t just a statement; it’s an action.
Why We Acknowledge
The 2021 UEA House of Delegates passed New Business Item #3 – Land Acknowledgements, as follows: "Utah Education Association will start each meeting with a land acknowledgment. Land acknowledgments are an honest and historically accurate way to recognize the traditional First Nations territories of a place. It helps redefine how people place themselves in relation to those groups indigenous to the land. Not all Indigenous people agree on their efficacy or even on how they should be done. Land acknowledgments are a good first step, but there is more work to be done."
Acknowledgments raise awareness about histories that are often suppressed or forgotten. For many, land means more than property. It compasses culture, relationships, ecosystems, social systems, spirituality and law. Land means the earth, the water, the air, and all that live within the ecosystem.
- Offer recognition and respect.
- Counter the “doctrine of discovery” with the true story of the people who were already here.
- Create a broader public awareness of the history that has led to this moment.
- Begin to repair relationships with Native communities and with the land.
- Support larger truth-telling and reconciliation efforts. Remind people that colonization is an ongoing process, with Native lands still occupied due to deceptive and broken treaties and practices of eminent domain and other mechanisms intended to benefit the government or corporate America. Inspire ongoing action and relationships.
How to Acknowledge
“We acknowledge that we gather as __________ (name of organization) on federally recognized tribal lands of Utah. Eight tribes have been living, working, and residing on this land from time immemorial. The tribes of Utah include (but are not limited to): Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Indians Navajo Nation, Northern Ute Tribe, Northwestern Band of Shoshone, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, San Juan Southern Paiute, Skull Valley Band of Goshute and White Mesa Band of the Ute Mountain Utes. We honor America’s First People and their ancestors, past, present and emerging. We are called on to learn and share what we know about the tribal history, culture and contributions that have been suppressed in tell the story of 'America.'"