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Land Acknowledgment: Lesson 4

Beyond Words: Transforming Land Acknowledgments into Pathways for Action and Healing

In our final lesson, we build upon the insights and practical guidance from Lessons 1 to 3 to emphasize that Land Acknowledgments are not the end but a starting point for meaningful action. We will explore ways to foster genuine relationships and promote healing. As with previous lessons, we hope you engage with the additional resources, knowing that our exploration here is just a beginning, and the real work continues beyond this.

A lot of times organizations really spin their wheels, and use a lot of resources to get the exact verbiage right, when they could be spending that time doing things that would actually support Native folks.”

Michaela Madrid

From Acknowledgment to Action

Land Acknowledgments are not an end but a beginning. They are an invitation to transform words into actions, declarations into relationships, and acknowledgments into pathways for healing and reconciliation. It's about seeing the subtle and overt ways that colonialism continues to shape thoughts, actions, and relationships. This transformation demands more than good intentions; it requires concrete actions, ongoing commitment, and a willingness to learn, adapt, and collaborate. Addressing these influences is not just a matter of awareness; it's a matter of change, growth, and ongoing reflection. It's a commitment to not only recognize but to actively challenge and transform the legacies of colonialism within ourselves and our communities. It's a journey that extends beyond the moment of acknowledgment, weaving into the fabric of everyday life, decisions, and community engagement.

Some ways to take action (adapted from ‘The Land We Live On” workshop developed by Aaron Golding and Jasmine Gurneau)

  • Moving away from incorporating indigenous knowledges and, instead, completely rethinking the way we think about knowledge production. Land acknowledgement should be a call to action. There are many forms that action could take.
  • Sign up to any open Indigenous listservs or mailing list
  • Read articles or reports on Indigenous communities
  • Listen to Indigenous voices through film, television, publications, music and incorporate them into your curriculum (check out the Standing Rock Syllabus)
  • Programming, community or research partnerships
  • Support Indigenous businesses
  • Learn about and honor tribal sovereignty (so you don’t sound like this)
  • Follow Social Media accounts


Untying Knots: Beyond Land Acknowledgment - Accountable Action in Partnership with Native Nations



Reflection Questions

  1. Beyond verbal acknowledgment, what tangible actions can be taken to foster genuine relationships with Indigenous peoples and promote healing and reconciliation?
  2. How do you recognize and address behaviors or mentalities that may reflect colonial heritage within yourself or your community?
  3. What further resources and collaborations might you seek to continue this journey beyond these lessons, ensuring that Land Acknowledgments serve as a catalyst for ongoing commitment and action?
  4. How can you collaborate with others, both within and outside your community, to create a sustained commitment to the principles of Land Acknowledgments?
  5. What concrete actions can be taken following a Land Acknowledgment? How can communities work together to foster genuine relationships with Indigenous peoples and promote healing and reconciliation?

Further Reading