Gary Piazzon writes:
There is a plaque at the entrance of the UUCWI sanctuary acknowledging that the land it occupies was traditionally occupied by the Snohomish tribe.This was done as part of a truth and reconciliation process.A process of acknowledging and taking responsibility of wrongs done and which is integral to personal and cultural healing.UUCWI is an ally of the Lummi tribe which is leading an effort advocating for publically recognizing that many of us inhabit land that belonged to another culture which was often forcefully and illegally taken.
At UUCWI we have a plaque and open SEJC meetings, but not services yet, with this statement:
“UUCWI acknowledges that this land where we gather was once the home of the Snohomish people whose spirits still inhabit these bays, forests and wetlands.” BUF does something similar Beth is sending me their statement. Meanwhile QUUF does include a n acknowledgement in thier services (see below). We are wondering what you do at your congregations?
This is what I’ve shared about the campaign with our members in the effort to get our Board to include it as routine part of services.
“We acknowledge that these mountains, valleys, shorelines, and bays are the traditional territory of the Indigenous People. May we nurture our relationship with our Coast Salish neighbors, where we all reside today and share our responsibilities to preserve and sustain their homelands and all living beings.” Quimper UU Fellowship
This is a very important initiative
The practice is becoming increasingly common across many venues in our region and Canada. Quimper, Edmonds and several other UU congregations incorporate it into their services and events. It was used to open the Justice UU Summit and each session of the 2018 Parliament of Religions conference.According the UU Beth Brownfield of Bellingham It is done all over Whatcom County, at city council meetings, the Whatcom Human Rights Committee, Whatcom Racial Justice Committee, Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center, and at WWU, It has been used at political events and many (all) environmentally related events in Washington.Gary Piazzon has used it for several years, with profound effect, to address participants at the Penn Cove Water Festival.Ask him about it.
Why Acknowledgement of Traditional Land is Important
“A territorial or land acknowledgement is an act of reconciliation that involves making a statement recognizing the traditional territory of the Indigenous people who called the land home before the arrival of settlers, and in many cases still do call it home.”
It is a measure of respect and opens a conversation long neglected. Few inheritors of settler culture know the true history of the land they inhabit. Canada is far ahead of us in this process.For instance they have both apologized for the culturally destructive, often deadly and family shattering Indian school program and even made reparations to survivors.The US government has not taken any steps along this path.It also centers us transients and invites us to think about relating to the land in a deep way.
Take the Pledge-Show You Care: #Honor Native Land
The SEJC urges you to take the pledge to publicly commit to practicing recognizing traditional Native land. We also invite you share this message with other organizations, collectives, institutions, and agencies to which you belong. More.
“If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God
UUCWI Social Environmental Justice Council, co-facilitator
Climate Reality Education and Advocacy Team, president
Whidbey Environmental Action Network, president