Power and Politics in American Indian History: Land Acknowledgement

CJ Trowbridge


Power and Politics in American Indian History

Forum 1

Real estate developers are digging up and destroying sacred indigenous sites to replace them with temples to capitalism, erasing history and indigenous culture in the process, according to the speakers. This is just one example where young people today are not just being raised to be ignorant to the indigenous history of the region, but also to be complacent with its erasure and the destruction of native historical sites.

Native peoples who survive here today have lived through three genocides perpetrated by capitalist America. The fact that the people are not even being taught their names, much less their history, while actively destroying their sacred sites and erasing their history means all of us are complicit in a fourth genocide which is unfolding before our eyes.

Land acknowledgement started as a way of inviting native people to open public events by educating crowds about the history of the land and the people who lived here for tens of thousands of years before the genocides started. It evolved from there into a call for sharing equity with native people; giving them a voice and a seat at the table in decision making. The idea grew to be about creating a reciprocal relationship with native people rather than simply using them as props to justify actions that harm them.

Around the middle of the workshop, Corrina Gould said, “We want to be good hosts, and we need good guests.” This really resounded with me. We need to remember all the genocides of the past and recognize the one that is still happening. She gave the example that we teach our kids and grandkids how to behave when they visit other people’s homes; don’t go through the refrigerator, be respectful, but these norms are not followed with regard to the native sites, native lands, and native people.



Works Cited

AIS Red Tawks. “A Workshop on Land Acknowledgment.” YouTube. 38:56. Published April 14, 2020. Accessed 2020-06-18. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOEfnzq-MXI