Have you been to an event or meeting that began with a statement acknowledging that participants are occupying indigenous land? These so-called land acknowledgments have become increasingly common nationwide, but they’re still polarizing within the indigenous community.
The Indianapolis minor league baseball team is known as the Indians and will begin each of its home games with a similar statement. The team also has a partnership with an Indiana Tribe to private financial assistance to them.
➡️ The statements can feel disempowering rather than uplifting. Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma citizen Kevin Gover says when he hears a land acknowledgment, he hears “There used to be Indians here. But now they’re gone. Isn’t that a shame?”
➡️ But they can be used as a call to action. Hoopa Valley Tribe member Cutcha Risling Baldy used a land acknowledgment at the beginning of a speech and asked people to donate to a First Nations organization, and it received more than $200.
➡️ They can lead to more than one-off donations, too. All theater performances and staff meetings at Shotgun Players in Berkeley, Calif., start with a land acknowledgment. The theater also pays a voluntary land tax between $3,000 and $6,000 to the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust.