a partial map of midwest states with the words 'this is Native land' overlayed on top of the map image

Rethinking Land Acknowledgments

This month’s equity resource is recommended by Tangletown Equity Committee member Ellen Block as food for thought before our Beyond Land Acknowledgement event on February 9:

“I am a cultural anthropologist who has learned and thought a lot about the land we live and work on and the Indigenous people who occupied it before us. I work at a university whose Indigenous Student Association worked hard to have land acknowledgments on every syllabus, and who encourage faculty to read the statements out loud to honor the oral tradition of the custom. That’s why I was surprised to learn that the Association for Indigenous Anthropologists (AIA) asked the American Anthropological Association – the world’s largest scholarly and professional association of anthropologists – to pause all land acknowledgments at their meetings, events and conferences. The recommended article for this month’s equity resource is the statement put out by the AIA ‘Rethinking Land Acknowledgements.’

I found this short and readable statement very interesting because it helped me understand the strengths and limitations of land acknowledgments and led me to think more critically about my own preconceived notions and understandings of Indigenous sovereignty and identity, and about the actions that need to accompany a land acknowledgement for it to be more than merely an empty gesture. This equity resource will hopefully provide useful background and prompt some thought provoking questions for our upcoming event Beyond Land Acknowledgement, which will take place February 9 from 6:30-7:30 over zoom. Learn more about the event and register here.