Meet Outdoor Educator for Venture Outdoors Summer Camps: Otavio Wilkinson-Baldauf
What is Land acknowledgment?
Land acknowledgment (or land recognition) is a traditional custom that dates back centuries in many Native nations and communities. Today, land acknowledgments are used by Native Peoples and non-Natives at the beginning of meetings, events, and ceremonies to recognize Indigenous Peoples who are the original stewards of the lands on which we now live.
You may have attended a webinar or sporting event recently that kicked off with “We’re presenting/meeting/gathering to you from the ancestral lands of the _____ people.” There’s no exact script when making land acknowledgements, but it will require some research on your part.
Why do we practice Land Recognition?
Despite what many of us may have learned in school, Columbus may have “sailed the ocean blue”, but he did not discover a “New World”. There were millions of Indigenous people all over the continent. These people have been displaced and continue to face hardship hundreds of years later.
In short, we live on stolen lands. Acknowledging this history and paying respect to the original stewards is the first step in a long process of reconciliation.
How can I practice Land acknowledgment?
The best place to start is with research. Native-land.co shows a map of indigenous nations. This site and many others like it will mention that the history of these nations may be complicated and you may find some conflicting information. It’s best to check with local Indigenous groups to get confirmation.
You may also text your address to 907-312-5085 and you’ll receive a text back to find out which Indigenous lands you’re living.
Once you know the original stewards of this land, kick off your events with an acknowledgement. Here are some samples to get you started:
“Our hike today will be on the traditional lands of the Susquehannock people.”
“Before we begin fishing this afternoon, we want recognize we are on the stolen lands of the Osage people”
“We are on Manahoac land today as we honor the original stewards of the land.”
The words may not be perfect, but it’s important that they are sincere. Read more about the limitations and considerations of land acknowledgments.
Venture Outdoors Land Recognition
Today there are approximately 476 million Indigenous people worldwide, in over 90 countries. In North America, there are more than 1,100 tribes—562 in the United States and 630 in Canada.
Venture Outdoors hikes, bikes, fishes, and kayaks on the original territories of many Indigenous groups including the Osage, Susquehannock, Massawomeck, Shawandasse Tula (Shawnee), Kaskaskia, and Erie. We honor the original stewards of this land and acknowledge the history of colonialism that has led to our presence here.