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Land Acknowledgement

What is your relationship with the land you live on? How does your ancestry and social position impact your acknowledgement and action toward anti-racist work?

 

  • Did you or your ancestors come here willingly? 

  • Did you come here as a refugee, asylum seeker, or immigrant? 

  • Are you Indigenous to this land? 

  • All of the above?

  • Some of the above?

  • None of the above? 

Anthropology has enabled and justified systematic destruction to Indigenous peoples worldwide. While we can’t undo the multi-generational damage of our predecessors, we will (re)write the narrative for this generation.

The four members of Slightly Problematic met on Nuche (Ute), Tsistsistas (Cheyenne), and Hinono'ei (Arapaho) land. Three of us still live here. It is important to pay attention to the fact that current settler geographies don’t reflect land freely given, equitably traded, or shared in good faith. Settler colonialism is the structure in which foreign colonizers violently invade an occupied territory, and remain there. The largest settler colonial countries are Australia, Canada, China, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, and the United States. Settler colonialism has become so normalized in the US that many of us never question this structure. We would like to change that.

 

Land acknowledgements have become common at universities and state events. Usually, a sentence or two is included to acknowledge the Indigenous nations from an area that an event is taking place on, which is good. Unfortunately, these statements generally end here, when they should only be the beginning. 

As non-Indigenous scholars, we are motivated by a responsibility to look critically at often taken for granted systems of privilege, violence and erasure that are institutionalized and canonized as a central mechanism of the structure of settler colonialism. 

Here are several things to get in the habit of doing everyday:

  1. Reject Settler nonsense: Terra Nullius (or “nobody's land”) is a myth, settler colonies are incursions into lands where people ate, loved, prayed, and were laid to rest. 

  2. Interrupt settler moralities: John Locke’s justification for private property, the cartesian divide between “man” and “the world” or “sacred” and “secular”, heteropatriarchy, heteronormativity, and heterobinaries are cultural constructs, not inherent truths. 

  3. Know your place: if you are a settler by birth, by choice, or by chance, be aware of how you are profiting from violent structures of settler colonialism, and learn to be a better guest.

  4. Always mark unmarked categories and try to speak as honestly and accurately about where your nouns and adjectives fit in asymmetries of power and privilege or appropriation and erasure.

  5. Support Indigenous organizations and have hard conversations with friends and family; repeat steps 1, 2, 3, and 4.

While the work of decolonization is serious and it is situated in specific lands and specific histories, here are three ways to support this is process

  1. Educate 

  2. Engage

  3. Change

Below, we have a number of resources curated towards steps one and two. 

​Help us be better.

Did we miss something? This is a living acknowledgement that we are updating as we learn and grow. Please let us know at info@slightlyproblematic.net if you have resources you want to share with us, or resources you would like us to share on the website!

Interested in land acknowledgments, and why we wrote one?

Magnified Grass

Indigenous Organizations Accepting Donations

● Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women: CSVANW

Navajo & Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund

IllumiNative

UNIST’OT’EN: Heal the People, Heal the Land

● National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center: NIWRC

Native Peoples Action

NDN Collective

● Native Arts and Cultures Foundation: NACF

Seeding Sovereignty

American Indian College Fund

Native American Rights Fund

The Tipi Raisers

Thunder Valley CDC

Indigenous Organizations to Follow

Podcasts

Student Groups

Decolonize DU

Righteous Anger, Healing Resistance: R.A.H.R.

Indigenous Owned Brands

Tocabe: An American Indian Eatery (Denver, CO)

The Halluci Nation (music group)

Cheekbone Beauty (makeup)

B.Yellowtail (clothing and accessories)

Eighth Generation (art and lifestyle)

Badwinds (art and apparel)

Dark Green Paper Structures

Who did we miss?

Didn't see your organization? Let us know!

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