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Land Acknowledgment: Lesson 2

Worldviews in Collision: The Dance of Dominion, Diversity, and Land Relationships

Building on the historical insights from Lesson 1, we now delve into the philosophical underpinnings that have shaped our relationships with the land. This lesson encourages you to reflect on how worldviews influence these connections. Remember, this is just a step further in our collective exploration, and we hope you will engage with the additional resources to deepen your understanding

Taking settler colonialism as a structure seriously allows US scholars, for example, to challenge the normalization of dispossession as a ‘done deal’ relegated to the past rather than ongoing.”

J. Kēhaulani Kauanu

Learning Objectives

After this mini lesson, you should be able to:

  • Have a deeper understanding of the significance of terms like "Settler Colonialism," "Survivance," and "Rematriation" in the context of land relationships.
  • Examine how a white Judeo-Christian worldview has influenced notions of dominion over land.
  • Explore avenues for redefining relationships with the land to move towards more equitable and respectful paradigms.

Key Terms


Processes of reclaiming the right to food and relationship with the earth for Indigenous peoples by focusing on returning land to Indigenous stewards, with an emphasis on woman and two spirit led restorations of Indigenous spiritual foundations and relationships with Indigenous food systems.

Settler Colonialism

Requires removal of Indigenous peoples, erasure of Indigenous peoples, and taking land for use by settlers in perpetuity. “This means that settler colonialism is not just a vicious thing of the past, such as the gold rush, but exists as long as settlers are living on appropriated land and thus exists today.” (Laura Hurwitz and Shawn Borque, Settler Colonialism Primer)


Term coined by White Earth Ojibwe author Gerald Vizenor, “an active sense of presence, the continuance of native stories, not a mere reaction. Native survivance stories are renunciations of dominance, tragedy and victimry.” It is a combination of survival and resistance that is intentional. It can be enacted in large and in small ways. (Gerald Vizenor, Manifest Manners: Postindian Warriors of Survivance)

A Deeper Look

The Dance of Dominion and Diversity: The idea of dominion, closely tied to a largely white Judeo-Christian worldview, shapes how societies interact with the land. This idea is not just theological; it manifests in laws, policies, and everyday practices. Unpacking this worldview and exploring how it collides with diverse perspectives is a dance that demands sensitivity, curiosity, and courage. It's about recognizing the power dynamics that shape our land relationships and seeking ways to honor and integrate different ways of knowing, being, and connecting.

Reflecting on Relationships with the Land: Our relationships with the land are deeply personal and profoundly shaped by our cultural, historical, and individual contexts. Reflecting on these relationships allows us to see beyond the surface, to understand how colonial heritage might influence our perceptions, and to cultivate connections that are rooted in respect, empathy, and awareness. This reflection is not just intellectual; it's emotional and spiritual, inviting us to feel, sense, and live our connection to the land in ways that transcend dominion and embrace collectivity.


Reflection Questions

  1. How do your personal beliefs and cultural background influence your relationship with the land?
  2. In what ways might the largely white Judeo-Christian worldview affect societal attitudes towards dominion and stewardship of the land?
  3. How can you foster a deeper connection with the land that respects diverse perspectives and challenges dominant narratives?
  4. In what ways might you encourage others in your community to think about their relationships with the land?
  5. How can we reconcile different worldviews and cultivate a deeper connection with the land that respects diverse perspectives?

Further Reading