BEYOND A LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
This Great Idea is offered in the hopes of honoring Native American Heritage Month in some significant ways.
~UPDATE: Find additional inspiration in St Paul’s UCC: Doing the Deeply Spiritual Work of Land Acknowledgment, by Tracy Kugler; January 11, 2023. This article contains a very strong resource list for doing the work in your congregation.
Land Acknowledgements have become for many congregations regular occurrences – and these are all to the good. If you haven’t created this practice in your worship service, find insight and guidance here.
For congregations already practicing a regular Land Acknowledgement, how might the community use this worship moment to develop a deeper relationship both with the land and with the Indigenous neighbors who historically and currently reside in and near the land upon which the congregation worships?
Help every sharing of a Land Acknowledgement be genuine by ensuring that the community knows about and appreciates the Indigenous communities mentioned in your Land Acknowledgement. Take time to learn who the Lakota, Dakota, Anishinaabe and/or other peoples who originally stewarded the land upon which you meet were, historically, and who they are, today. How might you begin or deepen relationships with your Indigenous neighbors?
Avoid tokenizing or depending upon Indigenous neighbors to teach you by engaging in Minnesota’s numerous public offerings. Events around the state can increase awareness of and appreciation for the history and heritage of the original inhabitants of this now-colonizer-filled land. Find events sponsored by or in:
- Minneapolis Institute of Art
- around the state with the MN Historical Society
- Explore Minnesota’s Find Native American Heritage and History in Minnesota
- MN Council of Churches’ Healing Minnesota Stories pilgrimages
We also share several in our Blue Whirl Webinar and Community Opportunities lists.
You might also invite an organization such as Kairos Blanket Exercise Community to work with your congregation on creating and sharing your own stories about your community’s histories and heritage, and neighborliness with the Indigenous communities within and around you.
Heighten your relationship with the land upon which you reside by visiting a nature center, farm, or sustainable energy installation created and stewarded by Indigenous peoples. The Wakan Tipi Center‘s Lower Phalen Creek Project allows visitors to participate in Indigenous-led efforts at prairie restoration. Dream of Wild Health Farm (Hugo) and Harvest Nation (Tower) are two examples of Indigenous-led farms with programming for public engagement. And White Earth Tribal College’s Solar Vision might provide inspiration for local efforts at sustainable energy.
A quick search of your locality will unearth any number of Indigenous-led projects, nonprofits, and educational opportunities for all ages to engage in awareness- and relationship-building with Indigenous neighbors during this month of celebrating Native American Heritage. And, they can deepen the impact of a regularly-shared Land Acknowledgement in worship.