2022 Native American land acknowledgement
September 23, 2022 / By Sharon Schmit, CONAM
The 2022 Upper New York Annual Conference will open with the following: “I would like to begin by acknowledging the Indigenous Peoples of all the lands that we are on today. While we meet today on a virtual platform, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the importance of the lands, which we each call home. We do this to reaffirm our commitment and responsibility in improving relationships between nations and to improving our own understanding of local Indigenous peoples and their cultures. This Land Acknowledgement was written by Bethany Printup-Davis, a member of the Tuscarora Nation and the UNY Committee on Native American Ministries.
In the spirit of the Act of Repentance, held in 2015, our Conference has offered a land acknowledgment to open Annual Conference as a reminder for all of us of the history upon which this nation was formed. It is a way to help make the invisible visible again. Land acknowledgments can be a powerful way to recognize systems that benefit from the erasure, genocide, assimilation, and colonization of the original inhabitants. By acknowledging the fact that the Native Americans who lived on and continue to live on the land where our church buildings currently stand, we seek to retell the story of the colonization and Christianization of Native Peoples.
As one way to seek justice and healing through education and action, CONAM members encourage everyone to learn the true history of the lands on which your church is located and work to create a land acknowledgement for use at worship and church gatherings. The statement should begin a gathering and acknowledge the Nation and land on which the gathering occurs. It can acknowledge the oppression that has occurred and commit to change. It may be as simple as, “I would like to acknowledge that this gathering is being held on the traditional lands of the _______ Nation/People. I am thankful for the gifts they have brought to this land and pay my respect to elders both past and present.”
The map here includes the nations which were part of what we call upper New York and the people who continue to live in the area today. Overlapping the Nations are outlines of the UNY Districts. One look demonstrates we do live in “Indian Country” and are called to recognize and respect our Native brothers and sisters. Determine who the Native people are who lived and continue to live in your area. Work to embrace new relationships as we work to dismantle racism.
Click here for an online resource to assist in learning more.