Poetry A TEMPLATE FOR YOUR FIRST EVER NATIVE AMERICAN “LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT”
Do I directly benefit from the enslavement and genocide of the original people of this land? Absolutely.
We here at the ( insert organization here ) acknowledge the first peoples of this land, the ( insert Native nation here ). We acknowledge the ostentatiousness of saluting the people whose blood and spirits originally came from this land, but who my ancestors, directly or not, surreptitiously killed. In the spirit of this acknowledgement, I should also note that I have no real idea whether or not my VERY RECENT ancestors had anything to do with the deaths of the original inhabitants of this land. I mean, probably. They probably did. I’m here, after all. And, if they didn’t kill the original people of this specific place HERE, then I’m sure they did their damnedest to some other tribe. That’s pretty much an inescapable fact. Because in being in front of you here tonight, I’m privileged. And that privilege doesn’t come from nowhere. A lot of brown people died for me to get to where I am today. And I acknowledge that. You’re welcome.
Furthermore, I hereby pledge to do everything in my power, with the exception of giving up my power and privilege, to ALWAYS acknowledge the poor dark bastards who’ve propped my family up.
Would it possibly be the right and noble thing to do to pack it up and go back to Europe? Absolutely. Am I going to? No. My family has been here for tens or even dozens of years. But why should I or my children pay for the sins of my forebears? We didn’t commit the murders upon which this country was built. We just profit off of it. Tell you what. I’ll do everything in my power to make sure my children will feel nice and guilty about the whole thing. And hopefully, THEY make the hard choice and go back to Europe. It’s lovely there. Especially this time of year.
But for me, I’m staying. Do I directly benefit from the enslavement and genocide of the original people of this land? Absolutely. And is it incredibly unfair that while I inherited the privilege, the contemporary Natives of this land inherited all the darkness that comes with a couple/few hundred years of trauma and terror? OF COURSE. But I’m still not leaving.
I’m part Native American myself you know. My great great grandmother was a Blackfoot or something I’m not sure. Yes, I understand that I’m not “connected” to the “community,” nor do I know anything about the language, politics, mindset, circumstances, lifestyle, economic conditions, humor, or general citizenry of the Blackfoot or whoever. But I have the blood in me somewhere, I’ve been told. And I know that’s what it takes to make an Indian. That pedigree. Like a dog. Or a Nazi.
So, with all that in mind: I hereby acknowledge the original caretakers of this land, from whom I probably descend, I don’t know. They have always been here, and they will always be here, which is incredibly inconvenient to my self-made illusions of belonging to this place. I extend to you all a pat on the head, a half-smile full of empathy, and a promise to “do more,” which I likely won’t keep. Of course now that I think about it, I realize that all of this time could have been spent listening to an actual Indian. In conclusion, I leave you with a very sincere “Oh Well.” Thank you.