We gather as guests of the Duwamish people on their traditional, unceded land that touches the shared waters of other Coast Salish tribes. We understand that their identity and richness of culture are deeply connected with the mountains, valleys, waterways and shorelines that surround us all.
We commit to learning about the Duwamish, other indigenous cultures, and historical and ongoing oppression of indigenous peoples. We strive to nurture our relationship with indigenous peoples, especially our neighbors, by joining their efforts to work for social justice and to care for this land.
A land acknowledgement is a gesture of respect and awareness of the land and it’s history. It becomes meaningful when coupled with informed action that builds relationships.
To start us on the path toward relationship, we will be reading the above acknowledgment of the land our church occupies during the worship service each Sunday.
Personal actions to consider:
- Find out whose land you are on, or have lived on at https://native-land.ca/
- Read about the first Thanksgiving from the Wampanoag perspective and the National Day of Mourning protest
- Contribute to the October Special Offering for Na’ah Illahee Fund
- Pay rent through Real Rent Duwamish as an individual
- Visit the Duwamish Longhouse & Cultural Center in West Seattle
- Read Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer and As Long as the Grass Grows by Dina Gilio-Whitaker
- Read The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee (2019) by David Treuer
- Visit the web site of the National Museum of American Indian (NMAI:Smithsonian),
and read Fall 2020 Commemorative Issue
- Donate to the National Native American Veterans Memorial currently being built on NMAI grounds.
- Visit the photography gallery and blog of Project 562, an effort to create a repository that accurately portrays contemporary Native Americans
- Learn about the indigenous movement for food sovereignty by streaming Gather (2020) on iTunes, Amazon, or Vimeo
- Shop at Eighth Generation Store, owned by Snoqualmie Tribe, for authentic Native-designed art, gifts, clothing, and more
- Donate to Chief Seattle Club and/or the Na’ah Illahee Fund to direct resources to local Native communities
- Listen to Changer: The Radio Play, Storytellers Roger Fernandes (Lower Elwha Klallam) and Fern Naomi Renville (Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate) bring the Coastal Salish stories of The Changer to the radio-stage.
- Hear Native voices speak about recent and current events at the Capitol. Dawn Knickerbocker (Anishinaabe, White Earth Nation) of Native Americans in Philanthropy and Lyla June (Diné and Cheyenne) on Facebook share their perspectives.
- Try a recipe with local foods from Salish Country Cookbook by Rudolph C. Rÿser (Taidnapam Cowlitz).
- Learn about Indigenous Feminism in this article by Jihan Gearon (Black-Diné) published by Stanford Social Innovation Review.
- Visit or preview online the Seeds of Culture multimedia photography exhibit at Whatcom Museum in Bellingham.
Creation of our Land Acknowledgment
The Land Acknowledgment Task Force was initiated at the Racial Justice retreat in October 2019 as one of several action groups. In January, Patti Brandt took on leadership of the Task Force and got the ball rolling. With the help of Nancy Hannah, a charge was issued by Sacred Earth Matters in collaboration with the Racial Justice Action Team. The charge outlined the tasks before us, many of which are described below.
Research included education about and a survey of land acknowledgments in use. Task Force members attended workshops, educational event, watched videos and read about indigenous peoples and racism. Early on, Patti Brandt and Cindy Wilson met with Polly Olsen, tribal liaison for the Burke Museum, about the process of writing a statement. After several months, three land acknowledgment statements were written and then discussed with both Sacred Earth Matters and Racial Justice groups. Using feedback from these discussions, we created a single statement.
Each member of the task force contacted local Native Americans to request feedback about the land acknowledgment. They advised to emphasize healing and action. With this advice, we revised to the version you have heard and seen during the worship service.
We worked with Pastor Catherine Foote to introduce the statement on the Sunday before Indigenous Peoples’ Day in October. That evening, we hosted a presentation and discussion about the Doctrine of Discovery and our experiences learning about indigenous history. This coming year, we will include action items in the weekly church email and host a forum featuring Native American speakers. In May, we hope the congregation will affirm the Land Acknowledgment Statement at the Annual Meeting. After this year, it is our intention that this will be integrated into the life of our Racial Justice church.
We have also advocated for and coordinated a Love and Justice Grant to Chief Seattle Club and Seattle Indian Health Board for COVID-19 relief in March, as well as the October special offering to Na’ah Illahee Fund.
The current members of the Task Force are Patti Brandt, Carol Nelson, Mary Jeanne Phipps, and Jessie McAbee. Nancy Hannah, Cindy Wilson, Barb Carmichael, and Becca McMullen also contributed at various stages of the process.
Native American Contributors included:
- Samantha Biasca (Haida, Tlingit, Inuit) Program Officer, Na’ah Illahee Fund
- Cecile Hansen (Duwamish) Chairwoman of the Duwamish Tribal Council
- Ryan Miller (Tulalip) Director of Treaty Rights and Government Affairs, Tulalip Tribes
- Polly Olsen (Yakama); Tribal Liaison for the Burke Museum
- Bridget Ray (Ojibwe) Director of Strategic Partnerships, Na’ah Illahee Fund
- Ken Workman, Duwamish tribal member