What We're Reading: Your Land Acknowledgement is Not Enough
"You’ve probably heard one. You may have helped craft one. A land acknowledgment is quickly becoming de rigueur among mainstream cultural and arts institutions. An official will stand at a podium and announce: This building is situated on the unceded land of the XYZ people. As if those people are not still here. As if this all happened in the past," said Joseph Pierce for Hyperallergic. "He will breathe deeply and continue: We pay homage to the original stewards of these lands. The audience will nod in agreement. As if homage were the same as returning stolen land."
"A land acknowledgment is not enough."
"The problem with land acknowledgments is that they are almost never followed by meaningful action. Acknowledgment without action is an empty gesture, exculpatory and self-serving. What is more, such gestures shift the onus of action back onto Indigenous people, who neither asked for an apology nor have the ability to forgive on behalf of the land that has been stolen and desecrated. It is not my place to forgive on behalf of the land."
"This is what settler institutions do not understand: Land does not require that you confirm it exists, but that you reciprocate the care it has given you. Land is not asking for acknowledgment. It is asking to be returned to itself. It is asking to be heard and cared for and attended to. It is asking to be free."
"The land exists regardless of settler acknowledgment, which can only ever be the first step toward meaningful action. Next steps involve building relationships with that land as if it were your kin. Because it is."