Last month, our nation observed Indigenous Peoples’ Day, a day to appreciate and honor the diversity, history and culture of Indigenous communities. And this month we celebrate Native American Heritage Month.
We thought this would be an opportune time to call attention to Indigenous land acknowledgements, or statements that recognize and honor the history of Indigenous communities on land (often their traditional homelands), along with their past and present relationship to that land. These acknowledgements may also bring awareness to the forced removal of Indigenous peoples from their homelands by colonialists. Indigenous land acknowledgements can be created by any type of organization and shared through a variety of mediums (publications, websites, events, social media, signage, etc.) to help raise awareness and inspire action in support of Indigenous communities today.
“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 acknowledgements 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
The Hudson Highlands of New York, which HHLT works to protect through our conservation work, are the traditional lands of the Wappinger Band of the Lenape Tribe of the Munsee Nation (related to and sometimes known as the Lenni Lenape or Delaware Nation), as well as the Delaware Tribe and Mohican Nation, particularly the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians. We want to respect and honor the Indigenous Tribes that stewarded this land for 10,000+ years, so, as a first step of many to come, HHLT is in the process of creating an Indigenous land acknowledgement statement with a collaborative of staff and Board members on our newly formed Equity Committee.