At the beginning of the recent New Branches’ Thanksgiving Eve service, representatives from each faith community shared the following land acknowledgment:
We collectively acknowledge that we are gathered on land stolen from the sovereign Dakota Nation. We honor as truth that this land was, is, and will forever be sacred to the Dakota and integral to their spirituality and identity. With gratitude for the many ways that we continue to benefit from the wisdom and work of the Dakota and those with whom they shared the land, we commit to work to working to right the injustices experienced by the Dakota and to developing authentic, respectful relationships with the Indigenous people living in our community and beyond.
This acknowledgement was written and read by members of the Land Acknowledgement and Beyond Group in response to an invitation received from the service planners. The Land Acknowledgement Group wants you to know that the acknowledgement is a work in progress, and will evolve with additional research, deeper understanding, and consultation with Dakota resources and community members.
“Land Acknowledgement and Beyond” describes a group of individuals from all three churches who began meeting in August 2022, expanding on last fall’s Dialogues on Race small group activities. The group’s name reflects the Indigenous perspective that a land acknowledgement is but the first step in repairing injustices. We are currently focused on three areas:
- Land Acknowledgement — developing a public acknowledgement and making recommendations for New Branches leadership.
- Education and resources — building awareness and understanding of Indigenous history and injustices experienced by our Indigenous neighbors as a result of European colonization of the United States.
- Action and relationships — exploring how we might develop meaningful relationships, support Indigenous organizations and offer reparations.
Anyone interested in actively participating in this work is welcome to join us! To be part of this ongoing, collaborative work, contact Sally Evans (Spirit Catholic Community), Ann King (Living Table UCC), or Kat Vann (Lake Nokomis Lutheran).
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