We gather as guests of the Duwamish people on their traditional 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
- Learn about the Chief Seattle Club’s new housing project ?al?al Home in Pioneer Square.
- Read about the Na’ah Illahee Funds efforts to promote urban indigenous gardening and food sovereignty.
- 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.
- Watch the 2021 Hoop Dancing World Championship sponsored by Heard Museum of Phoenix. (Available on YouTube and Facebook.)
- Learn about Indigenous Feminism in Indigenous Feminism Is Our Culture by Jihan Gearon (Black-Diné).
- Do you know where your electricity comes from? Learn about the impact of dams on the Skagit River and the Skagit tribe’s fight for removal and mitigation in this article in the Guardian, this article by Linda Mapes, and this Op-Ed by Nino Multos, chair of Sauk-Suiattle Indian tribe & Jack Fiander, legal counsel to the tribe.
- See the Seattle Times article “Salmon People: A tribe’s decades-long fight to take down the Lower Snake River dams and restore a way of life”
- See this Seattle Times article on the approval by the WA State legislature to ban the use of Native American names, symbols and images as school mascots, logos and team names at most public schools in Washington.
- Read the article “Return the National Parks to the Tribes” by David Treuer in The Atlantic.
- Visit Seattle University’s Vi Hilbert Ethnobotanical Garden to explore some of the native plants used by regional indigenous peoples.
- Visit Chief Seattle’s gravesite & the Suquamish Museum in Suquamish, WA.
- Read the article “Settler Fragility: Why Settler Privilege is so hard to talk about” by Dina Gilio-Whitake.
- Take a walking tour of seven UW Campus sites highlighting indigenous presence on campus through the perspective of an indigenous student.
- Consider participating in Faith Action Network’s Sign on Statement about Boarding Schools.
- Read the book in An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (2014) by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.
- Read about the Methow Conservancy’s fundraising initiative to return land (Wagner Ranch property) to the Confederated Tribes of Colville.
- Visit the Burke Museum and see the Northwest Native Art exhibit.
- Visit the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Refuge (south of Tacoma). Reflect while walking in this enchanting nature reserve on how crucial Billy Frank Jr was in leading the fight for Native American fishing rights.
- Watch the documentary Dodging the Bullets (2018) to gain an understanding of historical trauma and its influence on indigenous people (found on Apple TV).
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