Together, we acknowledge the Indigenous nations on whose ancient and sacred land we live, work, and play, including the Sauk and Meskwaki, Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo), Myaamia (Miami), and Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (Sioux). As a community, we recognize the ever-present systemic inequities that stem directly from past wrongdoings, and we commit ourselves indefinitely to respecting and reconciling this long history of injustice.
In an effort to promote ongoing education and action, UUFD aims to:
- Support the annual Dubuque Indigenous People’s Day celebration.
- Promote and participate in local and UUA events on the topic of Indigenous nations.
- Continue educating ourselves and finding ways to support Indigenous peoples, with the understanding that a commitment to justice is a lifelong endeavor.
The following organizations and events offer ways to get involved and support Indigenous peoples in our area:
- The Meskwaki Nation Settlement in Tama is home to the only federally recognized tribe in Iowa. Their Cultural Center & Museum hosts free educational programs, workshops, tours, and presentations throughout the year meant to protect, honor, and preserve the Meskwaki culture, traditions, and history.
- Indigenous Peoples’ Day is celebrated annually on the second Monday in October. Watch our newsletter and event calendar for details on the Dubuque celebration.
What Is a Land Acknowledgement?
In countries such as New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, it is commonplace, or even policy, to open events and gatherings by acknowledging the traditional Indigenous inhabitants of that land. Acknowledgment is a simple, powerful way of showing respect and a step toward correcting the stories and practices that erase Indigenous people’s history and culture and toward inviting and honoring the truth. A land acknowledgement can serve to:
- Offer recognition and respect.
- Counter the “doctrine of discovery” with the true story of the people who were already here.
- Create a broader public awareness of the history that has led to this moment.
- Begin to repair relationships with Native communities and with the land.
- Support larger truth-telling and reconciliation efforts.
- Remind people that colonization is an ongoing process, with Native lands still occupied due to deceptive and broken treaties.
- Take a cue from Indigenous protocol, opening up space with reverence and respect.
- Inspire ongoing action and relationship.
Acknowledgment by itself is a small gesture. It becomes meaningful when coupled with authentic relationship and informed action. But this beginning can be an opening to greater public consciousness of Native sovereignty and cultural rights, a step toward equitable relationship and reconciliation. Learn more at usdac.us/nativeland.
How Can I Use a Land Acknowledgement?
Land acknowledgements are often stated at openings of gatherings and events. You may choose to read the entire land acknowledgement above, or you can amend it based on your preference and the context of the event. For example, if you are at an event and are asked to introduce yourself and where you are from, an abbreviated land acknowledgement could be, “Hello, my name is ___, and I live in Dubuque, Iowa, located on Meskwaki land.”