Land Acknowledgement Resource Cards

Land Acknowledgement Resource Cards


A New Tool: Land Acknowledgment Resource Cards (LARC)

by Grace Crowley-Thomas

Throughout Canada, New Zealand, and parts of the United States, educators and leaders are engaging in a practice called “land acknowledgment.” Generally, this is a practice that is meant to recognize and pay respects to the Indigenous people first who inhabited and stewarded the currently occupied land. As we know, Indigenous people have lived, and continue to live, in just about every part of the world. The goal of these cards is to help educators introduce and grow an understanding around land acknowledgments.

It is vital that educators recognize this as a starting point and that to pay true respect, action needs to accompany acknowledgement. These “each-one-teach-one” style cards can be used in a variety of ways and this article provides a few suggestions around how an educator might engage with them with learners. These cards are not necessarily intended to be used all together, rather as a resource for the educator to pick and choose what cards are most appropriate for their group. Some of the cards are more appropriate for certain maturity levels than others. While these cards are a resource, it is the responsibility of the educator to learn about the issues of the local tribe and build relationships. Acknowledgement alone is not enough, there must also be action. Without action, we are just being performative and tokenizing of Indigenous peoples and cultures. In what ways are we simultaneously decolonizing our practice? Our minds? Educators should use these cards as a jumping off point to dive further into Indigenous ways of knowing and being and issues that local nations are dealing with.

Possibilities for use:

  • Learn more about Indigenous sovereignty
  • Learn more about Indigenous treaty rights
  • Use images to introduce Vi Hilbert, political cartoons, youth activism, Indigenous art
  • Write the name of the original inhabitants of the land you are on
  • Open discussion

Opportunities for Use

  • Pass them out to students and have each person share something from their card. Prompts may include:
    • Why are land acknowledgments important?
    • What is something new you learned?
    • Can you create your own land acknowledgment?
    • If we were to create our own land acknowledgment, what would be important for us to consider?
  • Choose specific cards that center the information you want to teach and present them to the group
    • Pictures of Vi Hilbert
      • Could be used in conjunction with a Suquamish basket lesson
      • Discussion of Lushootseed language and dictionary. How does language live and die?
    • Political cartoons
      • Discuss what the artist is conveying
      • Ask learners to make their own political cartoon
        • Environmental issues
        • Justice Issues
        • Youth Issues
      • Treaties and sovereignty
      • Land acknowledgment examples
        • What is a land acknowledgement?
          • What are common components?
          • What are some differences?
        • Why is it important?
      • Use the cards as each one teach one cards
      • Create your own land acknowledgement with students
      • Have students look at the artwork and form a discussion around them
        • What patterns do you see?
        • What shapes do you see?
        • What do you think the artist is trying to tell us?
      • Use the artwork and native land maps to have your students investigate and write the name of the ancestral lands you are on. Refer to this daily.
      • Write the name of the tribes whose land you are on on the provided artwork
        • Why would the artists make this work?
        • Youth made this artwork
          • ask about artwork that has a purpose
          • Ask learners if they have ever made art with a message
            • What was that message?
            • Did they show anyone?
            • How was it received?
          • Share stories of youth activists of color
            • Meet the young activists of color who are leading the charge against climate disaster (words and profiles below are directly from Burton, N. (2019, October 11). Meet the young activists of color who are leading the charge against climate disaster. Vox. https://www.vox.com/identities/2019/10/11/20904791/young-climate-activists-of-color.)
              • Jamie Margolin, 17, is a first-generation daughter of a Colombian immigrant and the co-founder of the climate action organization Zero Hour. As a queer, Jewish, Latina climate activist, Margolin is committed to advocating for the most vulnerable communities. When you uplift Latinx voices in the climate movement, she says, you must also fight for Indigenous rights, including the biodiversity that those communities protect.
              • Amariyanna “Mari” Copeny, 12, became an activist on behalf of her hometown of Flint, Michigan, when she wrote then-President Barack Obama in 2016, asking him to do something about the water crisis. In Flint, mismanagement led to high levels of lead in the water. State officials estimate that almost 9,000 children in Flint under the age of 6 were exposed to high levels of lead. These children, including Copeny, are at risk of developing serious, long-term developmental and health problems as a result. “Flint is not unique,” Copeny tells Vox. “There are dozens of Flints across the country. Cases of environmental racism are on the rise and disproportionately affect communities of people of color and indigenous communities.” Flint is nearly 54 percent Black, with more than 41 percent of its residents living below the poverty level,
              • Xiye Bastida, 17, was born and raised in San Pedro Tultepec, a town outside of Mexico City, where heavy rainfall and flooding were the norm. It gave her insight into how Indigenous communities are impacted by rising temperatures and environmental degradation. Bastida, who’s Otomi-Toltec from Mexico and now based in New York, says she brings “Indigenous knowledge and cosmology” to the conversation in the climate movement. “We don’t call water a resource; we call it a sacred element,” she says. “The relationship we have with everything that Earth offers, it’s about reciprocity. That’s the only way we are going to learn how to shift our culture from an extraction culture to a balanced and harmonious culture with the land.” Bastida skips school every Friday to protest at the United Nations as part of the Fridays for Future initiative founded by Thunberg. Bastida says it’s vitally necessary to keep Indigenous people at the forefront of the climate conversation.
              • Ilsa Hirsi, 16, The daughter of a Somali-American refugee, Hirsi feels strongly about making room for more Muslim and Black youth to be leaders in the climate movement. “Creating more space for those with marginalized identities in the climate space is necessary for inclusive solutions,” she tells Vox. “Everyone should be able to see themselves in a movement like this, and if you don’t, then that’s reason to make this space more inclusive.” Hirsi also recently told Essence that the climate movement can’t afford to ignore the impact capitalism, white supremacy, and colonialism have had on the climate. “The climate crisis is such a massive issue that everything is impacted by it … everything is intertwined in some way,” Hirsi said. She points to Indigenous-led protests against the Minnesota oil pipeline, Line 3, where the struggle against colonialism and the denigration of Native people can’t be separated from the pressing environmental issues.

 

Sources

#HonorNativeLand. U.S. Department of Arts and Culture. (2018). https://usdac.us/nativeland.

Burton, N. (2019, October 11). Meet the young activists of color who are leading the charge against climate disaster. Vox. https://www.vox.com/identities/2019/10/11/20904791/young-climate-activists-of-color

Friedler, D. (2018, February 9). If You’re Not Indigenous, You Live on Stolen Land. Teen Vogue. https://www.teenvogue.com/story/indigenous-land-acknowledgement-explained.

Land Acknowledgement. Duwamish Tribe. (2018). https://www.duwamishtribe.org/land-acknowledgement.

 

Grace is a current Master of Education candidate at University of Washington’s partnership with IslandWood’s Education for Environment and Community Certification Program on Bainbridge Island, Washington.