Anchorage School Board will add ‘land acknowledgement’ requirement to weekly classroom rituals

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The Pledge of Allegiance is supposed to start the day for students in the Anchorage School District, although some teachers ignore it. Now, the Anchorage School Board’s Governance Committee is considering adding a “land acknowledgement” as a required performative ritual.

The proposal has been discussed since at least March. Sponsored by School Board President Margo Bellamy and member Carl Jacobs, it is on track for approval this month, before the start of the school year.

The land acknowledgement statement would be required at the beginning of certain official events: Before school board meetings, commencement ceremonies, regional or state competitions or events, and professional conferences, a full land acknowledgement statement will be required to be read aloud.

At the start of every school week, at athletic competitions, before intramural school events, and at regular gatherings, an abbreviated land acknowledgement will be read to express “collective values.” For instance, before a school play or concert.

A land acknowledgement is a political statement that forces people to confess that they are colonizers and that the land they are on belongs to someone else — tribes, ancestors of original settlers. Others are simply “visitors from elsewhere.”

Some schools in the district ignore the requirement that the Pledge of Allegiance be recited. That district rule, which has been on the books for years, says, “The Pledge of Allegiance will be held as an opening ceremony at all ‘formal’ assemblies involving resource speakers and visitors.  The principal and faculty should determine when the Pledge should be held for other assembly meetings. The Pledge of Allegiance shall be recited daily at the start of the school day. It is the expectation that an opportunity shall be provided for all students and staff to salute the flag with the Pledge of Allegiance during morning announcements daily. Students or staff exercising their right to not participate in the flag salute must demonstrate respect and courtesy, whether standing or seated.”

School Board member Dave Donley, the lone conservative on the board, has visited schools in the district and has said during school board meetings that some teachers are ignoring the Pledge of Allegiance. At the very least, he knows of schools that do not broadcast the Pledge over the loudspeaker, so there is no way to know if it is being done in individual classrooms.

The most recent Governance Committee meeting where the land acknowledgement is discussed is at this link:

The draft of the land acknowledgement resolution includes:

“This Resolution recognizes the importance of honoring and recognizing the traditional lands of the Dena’ina People, discusses a historical and researched take on the values and uses of a Land Acknowledgement, and offers a non-exclusive list of occurrences when the official Land Acknowledgement statement should be read.

Whereas a Land Acknowledgment opens the opportunity to establish meaningfully aligned values with the contributions, innovations, and contemporary perspective of Indigenous peoples; and

Whereas a Land Acknowledgement is an actionable statement that marks our collective movement towards decolonization and equity; and

Whereas these lands and waters have been cared for and continue to be cared for by the Dena’ina people through traditions passed from generation to generation, and since the late 19th century, the Dena’ina homeland has been subject to the greatest settlement, urbanization, and population growth of any Alaska region; and

Whereas the Eydlughet and K’enakatnu Tribes have lived and subsisted on the lands and waters between the Chugach and Talkeetna mountains for thousands of years, long before Anchorage was “founded” and developed by visitors from elsewhere; and
Whereas a Land Acknowledgment is a formal statement recognizing shared values between the Anchorage School District and the traditional Indigenous relationship with the land5 that should avoid metaphorizing or tokenizing; and

Whereas a Land Acknowledgement is done in ceremonies where outside stakeholders are invited to gather to collectively express shared values, shared commitment, and mindfulness of decolonization; and

Whereas a Land Acknowledgement requires diligent and intentional mindfulness of what is being said, otherwise it turns the ongoing relationship between land and Indigenous values into an “empty gesture” to “honor … this century’s mascot”; now, therefore

The Anchorage School Board resolves that as of the date of approval for this resolution, that all Anchorage School District schools and programs will honor, acknowledge, and respect the unceded Dena’ina lands during public gatherings and will be expected to use a Land Acknowledgement for all gatherings open to the public including but not limited to the starts of school weeks, athletic competitions, and intramural school events.”

The Governance Committee is preparing to move the land acknowledgement requirement to the full School Board soon. The next Governance Committee meeting is at 1 pm on Aug. 10, with information about how to watch it at this link.

The next regular School Board meeting is at 6 pm on Aug. 16, with information about it at this link.

76 COMMENTS

  1. Get your kids out of Anchorage Public Schools. You know what they are.
    At this point if you leave your kids in, it’s your fault.

  2. And watch next as the ASD math, science and reading scores fall further from their already basement-dweller status. Hey, but at least we’ll be brainwashing kids, so we have that going for us.

  3. What a crock of sh…. errr…. stuff.
    .
    This is not “showing respect” to the indigenous people of the area, it is teaching your children disrespect for themselves, their families, and their culture.
    .
    Reminder, the leftists want to everyone’s primary relationship to be with the all powerful State, all other relationships are secondary. Eroding your child’s relationship and respect with their individual background and culture, replacing it with respect for a culture they cannot be a part of is one more weakness instilled in the next generation.
    All the while, teaching your children that their culture is bad.

    • Right. That would be the same state you right-wing extremists are using to make women and girls’ bodies State Property.

      Your venal hypocrisy and attempts to march this nation headlong into a white nationalist heaven will not bear fruit.

      • It will be a large fruit basket, Sophie, from the orchards of freedom. Sorry you won’t be around to enjoy it. But your reconstituted fertilizer will get ground up and spread for the next generation of freedom lovers.

      • “Venal hypocrisy” indeed… as the silent screams of 70-million murdered children cry out from America’s Holocaust… as they have been massacred before they could escape from their mothers’ wombs… “venal hypocrisy” indeed. We must repent and turn from our wicked ways. See 2Chron7:14.

      • Who is making woman’s bodies State property?
        Please explain?
        .
        Ohhh… wait. I get it. Abortion.
        .
        Please explain why abortion is such a HUGE deal to you leftists? Why is destroying a viable child in the womb the hill you want to die on? Seriously, there are hundreds of other forms of birth control, why ignore all of them and insist on destroying the inevitable outcome of irresponsible sex?
        .
        I am terribly sorry if the average person on the right side of the political aisle thinks the relationship between a mother and child starts before birth. But, if you could not care about destroying a human life, that is your moral choice.
        .
        Oh, and let me add one more thing. I am about as pro-choice as you will see from someone as conservative as I am. If you want to get an abortion, go ahead and get one. I do not care. It is your choice, and someday you will have to suffer the consequences of that action. But, do NOT demand my taxpayer dollars get used for it in any way. Planned Parenthood should not receive a penny of taxpayer funds until they have exhausted the millions they make a year from abortions.

  4. And this is why my kids go to private school. Absolutely no way I want my child indoctrinated in this liberal wokeism.

  5. Good! If they adhere to their own “logic”, all these PC-pandering, (non-)virtue-signaling, radical leftist extremists will leave the state for the lands of their ancestors, and leave us the Hell alone already.

  6. we ALREADY HAD the lands acknowledgment!! It’s called the Native Land Claims Settlement Act!! It happened in the 1970’s and the payments are still going on today! We are NO longer on other’s land unless you are picking berries in Ahtna land along the Parks Highway, for instance. This is OUR LAND – ALASKAN’s LAND. Get your kids out of the APD schools. Their sovereignty and sense of identity will be crushed!

  7. I am Native American. Most of my family is Alaskan Native.

    Always teach the history; this is important. But to have kids diss themselves and pledge division every day is NOT a good way to build confidence or relationships.

  8. What if as a staff person already hired by the school district you refuse to do this, will you be fired? Just curious. If so I would as a staff person find another job. Freedom of Expression is in the Bill of Rights.

    • They call working for the government “public service.” In reality, it is an act of self-disrespect.

    • Someone look under his desk and ask him.

      I’m actually more interested in Mayor Bronson’s position on this. If his people read these comments, ask the mayor to make a statement

    • This is a local Anchorage School District issue. Not a State of Alaska issue. Are you flinging merde against the ventilateur to see where it sticks?

      • DeSantis comments on, and STOPS, this woke ideology when it appears in Florida schools. The governor of Alaska is at least as powerful as the governor of Florida. So yes, it is the governors responsibility to protect children in school.

      • While I’m not an expert on the AK constitution, there is an interpretation which allows the governor to withhold funding.

        We are obligated to educate our children. State mandate, which means in theory supersedes local ones. Of the local municipality is not doing an adequate job (they aren’t) or is using materials not in line with said mission (they are), the state can block use of funds until the issues are corrected.

        Many red states are passing laws forbidding purchase of CRT material for classroom use.

        However we’ll never know what influence Dunleavy might have since he’s an empty suit with no spine. We’ll never know because he’ll never try.

      • Does the State of Alaska provide funding to the ASD? HINT: Yes, they do.
        .
        The use, and misuse of that funding is a State issue.

  9. Land Acknowledgement = property rights. Not a bad thing to consider. Takings will result in Fifth Amendment compensation. Titled owners have true claim against all others. Trespassers will be prosecuted………….or worse. Put that in your statement too, feckless School Board.

    • I presume you are talking about property that was legally purchased from another, or passed down through probate, …….not land that was acquisitioned through a government giveaway program, or land that was non-bargained for, but based solely on a racial basis for imagined sins of others?

      • Give aways and appeasements are detrimental to the next generation of Natives, who have become lazy and expect freebees just because of their race. This is to their detriment. Non-assimilation creates further resentment by all parties, and creates slothfulness and ugliness.

  10. “Land acknowledgment” is culty nonsense. Making it mandatory for students is indoctrination. I will gladly pull my kids from ASD if the schools permit this.

  11. So when do the First People acknowledge they too invaded Alaska across the Bering land bridge from Asia, taking the land from the earlier inhabitants that were already here? The Americas have been inhabited for more than 30,000 years.

  12. Communists on the School Board should be put out of their jobs and sent to China and Russia. No return ticket….
    The only thing recited should be the Pledge of Allegiance every day at the beginning of class. How did these creeps get into that job? Probably in the same districts as a few of the Anchorage Assembly members.

  13. I think Margo Bellamy needs a real job. I just hope parents will get smart and get their children out of the toxic environment that is present in Anchorage Schools.
    If the board keeps this up, China or Russia will walk in and take over anytime.
    If it wasn’t so laughable a person would cry.

  14. The single most important to know about public education is they are not there to actually educate kids.

    They are there to (in order)
    -ensure their ongoing survival
    -create semi literate peasants to serve the ruling class. Thank you Woodrow Wilson-Democrat.

  15. I found the Sheppards Chapel I struggle in my walk understanding, please give It a shot it may help you also just sharing here and trying to help. In the end good wins but we must know how to make it there. Support GOD as he supports us. I found the help I needed I only hope it will bless ALL also. DISH Chanel 256. Suzanne if this is not proper for must read I did not realize ma’am. It’s good stuff for ALL.

  16. This is the equivalent of un-acknowledging EVERY other human being that ever passed through the space prior to this one historical reference that is being emphasized. It is short sighted foolishness, brought to us by know it all do-gooders, that succeed at neither.

    • It would be interesting to see if the ASD will allow students to “opt-out” of this, the same way they allow a lackadaisical approach to the pledge and the national anthem. I bet not!

  17. To my knowledge, a little law called the Alaska Native Land Claims Settlement Act of 1971 put an end to this. In exchange for extinguishing the claims on the land, Alaskan Natives received $900 million, forty million acres of land and a corporate structure which has resulted in the establishment of many billion-dollar corporations that control vast segments of Alaskan life. While the exact form of the forced “acknowledgement” is hazy, it appears to be based on an untruth. Talk about empty blather. Just say no.

    • Precisely. How interesting that a culture that emphasizes respect for elders is now so willing to throw under the bus the negotiators of ANCSA – now elders. Trash the gray hairs, they did a crappy job in negotiating our land claim settlement. This is “unceded land” they say. Myth. Pure myth. It IS ceded, and it isn’t theirs. Ironic that this unique Alaska history isn’t taught in school or known by the school board. Thank you Margo Bellamy, for making home schooling more attractive.

  18. They missed their golden opportunity. The leader pronounced fuhrer in german says “You vill own nothing and be happy”. Come on ASD get with it.

  19. I hereby acknowledge that all rights to land claimed by Alaska Natives is extinguished by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. Yes, I am an Alaska Native.

  20. On further review, they may have a point. The US basically stole Alaska from Russia based on price paid and value received.

    Make this the chant. “ We owned you Russia, it’s ours now. Go suck it school board”.

    • Not true: The Russians owned less than a half dozen stores, a couple of run-down forts and controlled a couple of docks and a few churches. That’s it. They acknoledged the rest of Alaska a generous three quarters of it, the Russians acknowledged the people of the land owned it and the Russians stipulated the people of the land were not to be displaced and the Russians had no oversight of them in any way. The Russians received a generous sum for their interests considering the limited assets.

      • You must have got your education at a public school. The Russians took Alaska, killing or enslaving all native people they came across and heavily exploited the natural resources of the day to near extinction. When offered a price for the territory they gladly sold because it was played out as far as they new. At the time , Seward was highly criticized. The land that is now Anchorage, was never used for anything by any people until the railroad needed it. This is because it was mostly a swamp. The nearest native settlement was Knick. But to even hint that the Russians were kind in any way towards the native population of Alaska is ludicrous. Visit Kamchatka and see how well they treat their own native peoples that didn’t cross the land bridge if you need further evidence of what would have happened here had we not purchased Alaska. The native people of Alaska should be grateful but people are always trying to stir things up to create racism where there is really very little. This whole acknowledgment thing was created by the assembly to do just that.

        • My family are part Russian and they were kind, historic, loyal to family. Sorry to burst your preferred stereotype. Many more Aleuts went to Russia at the sale, their choice. There are more native Aleut speakers in Russia than Alaska. The Americans were very unfriendly toward those they were disposessing. The Aleuts in Russia thrived. They still speak Aleut, tell their Aleut oral histories, wear their regalia and know more old Aleut tribal dances. There was a cultural “exchange” several decades ago and the Russian Aleuts were happy to refresh American Aleuts cultural knowledge.

    • Not a valid argument.
      .
      The price paid for Alaska to Russia was exorbitant. The Russians were laughing all the way to the bank, thinking they had already exhausted the resources of AK, and the remaining stuff was just too hard to gather/return to Russia.
      .
      The only reason you can claim it was basically “stolen” is based on the US development of the resources. Resources that neither the US, nor Russia knew were in AK.
      .
      Some of the priciest real estate on the planet was developed on land that was considered useless. The reason why DC was developed in a swamp is because the colonies had no use for that land. Manhattan island was sold to the Dutch for way… WAY more than the indians thought it was worth.
      .
      Do not confuse present day value with historical worth.

  21. Why do the liberals stay here? On NATIVE land.
    They should give their house to an Alaska Native (I have 3 that could use one) and LEAVE.
    Hypocrites.
    And by the way …. where is the “Native” representation on our liberal school board & on our liberal assembly?
    All talk …. no action. Think these white liberals are going to give an inch of power to Natives?

    We tried for 2 years to get one Native person on that school board, but any Native that runs loses to a non-Native NEA backed, liberal (who is NEVER an Alaska Native)
    As Jesus would say …. Hypocrites!

  22. Call it what it really is…another form of critical race theory. Pull your children out from among the woke wolves disguised as teachers. Homeschool them. You only have one chance to do it right.

  23. Are these kids old enough to make pledges? It’s true that Alaska has been a colony under military rule for a very long time. That’s because the government of, by and for the people was never reconstructed after the Civil War, so foreign, mostly British, corporations were delegated to provide limited governmental services until the actual American government could be reconstructed which never got done. So for about 160 years US and USA citizens, Territorial and MUNICIPAL, have been under British rule. The State of Alaska is a trust, not a state. It is a public corporation. AS 45.77.020(3) And the STATE OF ALASKA is a MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, a franchise of the MUNICIPAL UNITED STATES that Obama bankrupted in 2015, was liquidated, finished in 2021 and shouldn’t even be here.

  24. This is disrespectful of EVERYONE and accomplishes only further hate and prejudice. It solves nothing but the desire of the ASD board to appear wokest. Shame

  25. (sarcasm) Awesome! Great Job Anchorage School District! Let us continue the progress of instating shame and an intolerance of the U.S.A. (/sarcasm)

    I like how historically nations and people groups have moved around, fought, colonized, and died off. But suddenly when we have the luxury to complain about the ugly things in our history (and mind you when we have the civility and time too as well) we have these big-brain’s just straight ripping on our past.

    Hey Margo, what demographic of melanin skin wearers died on the beaches of Normandy? Hey Margo, you know some of these First Nations ate people, like straight up ate moms, dads, boys, and girls. Why is it only the “U.S.A.” is seen for all of its ugly history, and the First Nations are only worshipped and seen as victims?

    Now how about this, use our tax payer money to reinforce a merit-based system that inspires young adults with the endless opportunities that success brings. Supplement it with some basic science, math, reading, and Judeo-Christian principles (“Thou shalt not kill”) and start every day with an acknowledgement (or a pledge) that we live in the greatest societal experiment known to mankind.

  26. The archaeological record shows that an Eskimoan people occupied upper and lower Cook Inlet until the Denaina moved down from the interior and pushed them out. And that is the story of the world.

  27. Imagine if this was a city in Poland or France-they would be acknowledging land folks all dang day…then probably fighting about it!

  28. The entire controversy is resolved in one word: vouchers. Parents should be able to apply their children’s state education entitlement in the educational free marketplace at their discretion. Religious schooling should be fully allowed the same as evolutionary theory in public schools as a manner of religion. Remember, Darwin’s treatise was about the origin of species; accordingly, as to the origin of life and the cosmos itself, evolutionary theory is no more credible than religion.

    • Agreed! Vote for the constitutional convention, so we can remove the Blaine amendment and have educational funds follow the child.

  29. One more strike FOR private schools. Take your kids out of Public school BEFORE they start being forced to quote the Russian nationalist agenda.

  30. It’s BS. Somebody “owned” the land before the Dena’ina people. Somebody will own it after us. In other words: it “belongs” to no one.
    STOP IT.

  31. What a load of crap. I it wasn’t for fur traders and people coming to Alaska to build a state where there is running water and electricity, the natives would still be living in sod huts. If you don’t like all the modern conveniences, there is a HUGE amount of native land you can go back to living in a hut, fishing and hunting like they did before we showed up, unimpeded by the white man.

  32. I don’t live in Alaska, but I do live on Indian Reservation land. I don’t understand this way of thinking you can make demands of the winners of war. Either the battle was won, or it wasn’t.
    We supposedly conquered Germany and Japan and others, but then you give them back ? Its the same here. Did the Indians lose the wars or not ? What other country or tribe throughout history has done that ? Normally they are conquered and annihilated, or you assimilate into the invaders culture. Treaties are a fools game.

  33. Sure, why not. But they need to add a acknowledgment that those before us “took” the land from those before them, and those before them and so on and so forth…. How can we say the land was theirs from the beginning, well we can’t. Good grief, these people have gone so far off the edge I think its time to ship them down to California where they fit in.

  34. Ok, I’m game. Let’s have students acknowledge who was the original owner of Alaska. God.

    I’m good with that

  35. Cool- Just like the old days! This land is my land…this land is your land…

    MatSu District put up signs in each building 2 years ago recognizing the Denaina people, glad they don’t make us pledge to them.

  36. Anchorage School Board is composed of bad people doing bad things.
    .
    The bad things are grooming children, trolling their sex lives, inflating school-district contracts to benefit trade unions, and imposing functional illiteracy on children while achieving notoriety for being one of the most overpriced, worst performing school districts in America.
    .
    The bad people know they’re well insulated from accountability. Why? They provide free government-run day care to children whose parents can’t afford real education. In turn, Anchorage’s easily corruptible mail-in voting system provides them job security to do what they want, regardless of cost
    .
    Absent an organizationally crushing scandal which law enforcement can’t ignore, an Eaglexit, or a 1980’s style mass exodus, the lethal stranglehold Anchorage’s School Board has on the community seems unlikely to change.
    .
    Sadly, disenrolling one’s children from Anchorage School District may be the best and only option until the thing collapses under its own corruption and parents have a chance to rebuild it into something semi-private, something other than government-run daycare.
    .
    Might even cost more, but if the product’s a world-class, classical education of which everyone can be proud, would it not be a damn sight better than what we have now?

  37. Interesting. It’s as if white Americans and Europeans were the only ones to migrate and explore and use resources as they dominated culturally and many times violently using advanced capabilities while staking claims. The solution, no longer honor any land ownership, borders, tribes, or laws as we achieve love, harmony and a nirvana that not even Jesus promised and anyone who opposes this should be conquered and exterminated immediately and quietly so we can progress to bliss. Ok ok, I guess they are just saying that we should recognize that even though this nation is great with some great principles, we should forget about all of that and remember how terrible it is and was so we can feel better about how much better we are.

    This is truly the sick ego trippin’ self righteous revolutionary madness that infected Karl Marx and it’s obviously contagious.

    You can put your kids into private schools or homeschools, but as long as this is the crap the public schools want to do to the rest of the nation, you might as well build a bunker too. Don’t retreat. Remain or this country and the world will have turmoil that will be far worse than having to battle the schools by explaining to your kids the wisdom that you know. Arm them and give them courage to express a different perspective that cuts with simplicity and a double edge that can’t be denied by even these arrogant flakes. And if they choose to deny it, they’ll still be forced to address it while claiming they want to be “inclusive”.

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