Sometimes stories gestate for years before taking form. This one bloomed from deep curiosity rooted in a sense of personal responsibility. I realized that my understanding of the land upon which I live was incomplete and imbalanced. While I of course knew about the people who have lived here since time immemorial and had a schoolbook understanding of the history of European colonization in the region, I didn’t live day-to-day with an embodied knowledge of the ongoing impact of these histories and traumas. I vowed to do better and, starting several years ago, quietly went about learning more.
At the same time, I began to see the ubiquity of land acknowledgements, which intrigued me but also made me uncomfortable. They seemed like flimsy Band-Aids on gaping multigenerational wounds. It took a bit of persuasion, but my editors took a chance on a potentially fraught story about land acknowledgement not only as a public practice but a deeply personal one. How does someone like me, a transplant to the East Coast and the first-generation daughter of European-descent immigrants, make sense of her place on this land in the context of history? How do we even begin to correct for the harms of the past?
This was a challenging story and we took great pains to present it in as responsible and thought-provoking a way as we could. I hope the result is useful and interesting for readers. You can read “The Problem, Practicality and Power of Land Acknowledgements” in the April issue of 5280 magazine or online by clicking here. Feedback is always welcome. I am a humble learner.