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Acknowledging the Original People of this Land

Please note: Originally this blog post used the term “Native Land Acknowledgement,” but at the guidance of Native leaders, we are now using the term “Acknowledgment of the Original People of the Land” to more explicitly honor the tribes and people impacted by practices of genocide and colonization.  

LJIST partnered with Shilo George of Łush Kumtux Tumtum Consulting, LLC, to do an acknowledgment of the original people of this land at a recent Transformational Communication Workshop.

What we now call Portland, OR and Multnomah County were the traditional lands of the Multnomah, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Cowlitz bands of Chinook, Tualatin Kalapuya, Molalla and many other Tribes who made their homes along the Columbia River. [1] Today, people from these bands have become part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, as well as the Chinook Nation and Cowlitz Nation in Washington State.

Acknowledgment of the original people of the land is a simple, powerful practice that demonstrates respect by making Indigenous people’s history and culture visible. It is also a small step along the path toward reconciliation and repair.

Acknowledging the original people of the land is a contemporary practice reflective of indigenous protocols to honor the land and to open spaces with reverence. In its modern context, this practice:

  • Acknowledges the ancestors that were here before us and counters the “doctrine of discovery;”
  • Gives visibility to Native people who are part of our community;
  • Recognizes tribal people as their own sovereign nations;
  • Spreads awareness about the historical context that has led to this moment and supports truth telling;
  • Provides space to reflect on the ways non-Natives currently inhabit the land, dominate resource consumption, and exist within a still-active process of colonization;
  • Creates space to build relationships with Native people and communities and with the land;
  • Inspires ongoing action and relationship.

Anybody can do an acknowledgment of the original people of the land. To learn more about the indigenous people of the lands you live and work on visit https://native-land.ca for a comprehensive global map.

For more information, including a step-by-step guide for starting this practice with your organization, visit the US Department of Arts and Culture to download a resource created in partnership with Native allies and organizations.

Interested in learning more about Native Liberation and reconciliation? Join us at one of our Just Apology workshops.

[1] Portland Indian Leaders Roundtable. Making the Invisible Visible. http://www.portlandindianleadersroundtable.org/making-the-invisible-visible.php

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