At the Oct 4 meeting of the Anchorage School Board, members will be voting on a resolution that will require the schools to start using a performative land acknowledgement that recognizes that there were some people living on the land in the Anchorage area before other people from other places arrived to live on the land.
“Anchorage School Board resolves that the Superintendent shall promote the necessary collaboration between the Eydlughet (Eklutna) Tribe and the Anchorage School District to write a ‘living’ Land Acknowledgement statement and bring that statement to the Board for approval and ensure a required protocol for when and why to issue Land Acknowledgements at appropriate District-sponsored ceremonies and gatherings,” reads the resolution.
In 2020, the “land acknowledgement” became a fixed agenda item for the Anchorage Assembly under the chairmanship of Assemblyman Felix Rivera. It’s an official mea culpa of colonization and occupation, and the Assembly now has someone on the governing body recite the ritualistic self-shaming before each meeting.
These types of land acknowledgements started in Canada and often say erroneously that Native Americans have been in the region “since time immemorial,” as stated by Joe Biden’s Indigenous People’s Day proclamation of Oct. 8, 2021, and that the lands that people are living on now were considered sacred lands to people who lived on them prior. People such as Paleolithic people, or Stone Age people.
Anthropologists believe humans crossed the land bridge from what is now Russia to what is now North America some time between 15,000 and 40,000 years ago. The first people to arrive were thought to be Paleolithic, but later the area was populated by Inuits, and then other ethnic groups. Caucasians and those of African descent are more recent arrivals.
The Anchorage School Board, not to be outdone in “woke” ideology by the Anchorage Assembly, followed suit. Now, the board is planning to craft a recitation that will be required throughout the districts during specified events. At this point, it appears the Board is backing away from requiring it to be recited daily in classrooms, perhaps planning to introduce that aspect later. Currently, the schools are supposed to have the Pledge of Allegiance recited daily, but research shows that many teachers are not expecting that in their classrooms.
The next step for the schools to adopt a land acknowledgement is for the superintendent and the Eklutna tribe, which numbers 70 people, to come up with the acceptable wording.
The school board’s own land acknowledgement, performed at each meeting, follows:
“(A Land Acknowledgement is a formal statement recognizing the Indigenous people of a place. It is a public gesture of appreciation for the past and present Indigenous stewardship of the lands that we now occupy.
“A Land Acknowledgement opens a space with gratefulness and respect for the contributions, innovations, and contemporary perspective of Indigenous peoples.)
“On behalf of the Anchorage School Board, I want to take a moment to recognize and offer gratitude for the sacred ancestral lands of the Dena’ina People.
“We acknowledge and appreciate that our offices, facilities, and schools are on these sacred indigenous lands, and we honor the traditional care that has been given to this land throughout generations.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to grow, learn, work, and create educational communities on this sacred land. We extend continued respect for the many cultures, creativity, and resilience of its Indigenous Peoples”. CHINAN”