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Beyond Land Acknowledgment

What does it mean to go beyond land acknowledgment?

"Instead of spending time on a land acknowledgment statement, we recommend creating an action plan highlighting the concrete steps you plan to take to support Indigenous communities into the future. Similar to a land acknowledgment, your plan will include information and research on the land you occupy, but it will primarily focus on action. Is it wrong to write a land acknowledgment statement? No. But if you do, your statement should highlight a strong call to action and action steps; it should encourage your audience to create their own steps, too.

When writing your action plan, it’s still important to look into the Indigenous past, present, and future of the land you occupy. Writing an action plan instead of a land acknowledgment statement does not mean you’re off the hook for doing your own research. In fact, you’ll likely conduct just as much or more research to create an action plan that’s specific, accurate, and impactful."

Voluntary Land Taxes

"Voluntary land taxes, otherwise referred to as honor taxes, function similarly to paying rent or a home mortgage. Our rent and mortgage payments give us access to living space; voluntary land taxes recognize our access to stolen Indigenous land. Each month (or on a set time interval), land tax participants pay an amount that goes directly to Native nations and/or organizations in their area. Some land tax programs are run by non-Indigenous residents working in partnership with Native nations and organizations; others are operated by Native-led nonprofits working toward Indigenous land return. Land taxes are not required and are entirely voluntary: it’s up to program participants to determine how much and how often they’d like to contribute.

Voluntary land taxes are important because they support Tribal sovereignty. Michelle Vassel, Wiyot Tribal Administrator, explains the importance of the Wiyot Honor Tax: “[The Wiyot Tribe] is a government, just like your municipal government, just like your state government, just like the federal government. We do all of the same functions. But, we don’t have the taxation base to be able to carry them out. We have no casino or other form of economic development. Everything that we do is based on writing grants. And whatever is popular in the grant world, on any given day, is what gets funded. That doesn’t affirm our sovereignty. We often don’t have choices when our money comes from people who tell us what the best way is. By contributing to the Wiyot Honor Tax, you’re honoring our sovereignty and ability to make choices on our own to do the best things. No strings attached.” (Read our article to learn more about why voluntary land taxes are important and the programs that already exist.)"

Point Allerton Therapy paid its first voluntary land tax in 2023.


Land Acknowledgement

"Native Land Digital strives to create and foster conversations about the history of colonialism, Indigenous ways of knowing, and settler-Indigenous relations, through educational resources such as our map and Territory Acknowledgement Guide. We strive to go beyond old ways of talking about Indigenous people and to develop a platform where Indigenous communities can represent themselves and their histories on their own terms. In doing so, Native Land Digital creates spaces where non-Indigenous people can be invited and challenged to learn more about the lands they inhabit, the history of those lands, and how to actively be part of a better future going forward together."

I am including this page to acknowledge that this business exists on unceded land. The state of Massachusetts is on territory of the Massachusett, Pawtucket, Nipmuc, Wampanoag, Pokanoket, Pocomtuc, Mahican and the Pennacook.

These links are for further education and information:

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