What is a land acknowledgement?[edit | edit source]
A land acknowledgement is a statement meant to respectfully recognize the original Indigenous people who inhabited and cared for a specific area before colonization or displacement. They are often given at the start of an event or presentation. The EIC wrote more about land acknowledgements on page 11 of the AIC News.
To learn more about the land you are on, check out this Native Land map.
Why include a land acknowledgement?[edit | edit source]
AIC’s Code of Ethics includes Statement II: “All actions of the conservation professional must be governed by an informed respect for the cultural property, its unique character and significance, and the people or person who created it.” As with any cultural preservation effort, we cannot forget the importance of people in our mission to preserve memory and heritage. Providing this statement is one gesture to demonstrate our recognition of this history and respect for the community where we are holding our activities. It is also important to recognize that the history of colonialism and displacement has benefitted many of the cultural institutions in which conservators work.
However, engaging in this practice is, and should be, a personal commitment to learning a fuller history of the land you are currently inhabiting as well as the indigenous people who stewarded and are currently stewarding the lands. It is not a checkbox and should not be rote. It should be a first step, not the only step and should lead to meaningful relationships and action.
Many indigenous peoples support land acknowledgments, but stress that an acknowledgment is only the beginning.
- Native Governance Center: A guide to Indigenous land acknowledgment
- U.S. Department of Arts and Culture: Honor Native Land: A Guide and Call to Acknowledgment
- What are land acknowledgements and why do they matter?
- Northwestern Native American and Indigenous Initiatives Land Acknowledgement
- Guide to Acknowledging First Peoples & Traditional Territory
For more perspectives, read why these artists emphasize the problematic, habitual nature of land acknowledgements:
- Indigenous Artists Tell Us What They Think About Land Acknowledgements
- Land Acknowledgments Accomplish Little
How do I write a land acknowledgement?[edit | edit source]
The EIC has created guidelines to assist you in preparing your own acknowledgements.