Land Acknowledgement: An Evening With Dr. Joaquin Munoz

By Lori Kran, PhD, Pedagogical Director 

Last Monday evening Dr. Joaquin Muñoz, a professor of American Indian Studies, presented, via zoom, ideas for how our community could move forward in developing a meaningful land acknowledgement. Close to 40 faculty, staff, and community members attended. I left the presentation feeling hopeful and invigorated for the work we have ahead of us. If you feel so moved please contact me or School Director, Mary Fairfield, to learn more about our SMWS DEI work. 

Here are some of the highlights from Dr Muñoz’s talk. 

Know your history: We need to research and read Boulder County’s history in particular, and the United States’ history in general, to reckon with how settler colonialists lied to Indigenous peoples and carried out genocide in order to steal the land we currently inhabit. Consider reading about our local history as well as US history in Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the US; Ronald Takaki, A Different Mirror; and Roxanne Dunbar-Oritz, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, For Young People. Listen to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s podcasts, Teaching Hard History. When we read and listen to these “hard histories,” let’s do so with open hearts and minds. We must accept the facts and understand that facts are not open to interpretation. Through heartfelt thinking we are able to open up to criticism and new perspectives. 

Know your community: Remember that right now Indigenous people live here and throughout the United States. It is imperative that we, with all due respect and patience, forge relationships with Indigenous people and nations so that we have a nuanced and sophisticated understanding of the actions we must take toward reparations. 

Act locally and nationally: We need to put actions behind our words so that our land acknowledgement is not performative. Dr. Muñoz listed several organizations that we can contribute to: 

Minneapolis American Indian Center: http://www.maicnet.org/donate/

American Indian Family Center: https://aifcmn.org/getinvolved/donate/

Here in Boulder consider connecting with Right Relationship Boulder https://friendspeaceteams.org/trr/ 

In Denver, consider connecting with: https://www.spiritofthesun.org/

Lakota Waldorf School in South Dakota https://lakotawaldorfschool.org/donations/

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