RESOLUTION #5 – CREATION OF A COMMITTEE ON LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Submitted by the Rev. Jedediah Fox, Church of the Redeemer, Kenmore
Resolved, That the 109th Convention of the Diocese of Olympia direct the Bishop to appoint a committee of no less than 8 persons to examine the subject of Land Acknowledgement of Indigenous Peoples in the Diocese of Olympia, with specific attention to policies that the Diocese can enact, and be it further,
Resolved, that the committee bring a full report, written and verbal, including recommendations for specific Diocesan policies moving forward, to the 110th Convention of the Diocese of Olympia, and be it further,
Resolved, that the first meeting of the committee take place no later than January 28, 2020.
Explanation: Every church in the Diocese of Olympia stands on land that was occupied prior to Euro-colonial contact. In most, if not all cases, this land was taken, without permission, with or without force from peoples who had stewarded the land from time immemorial. This theft is a silent sin, exacerbated by our inability to grapple with it. Our silence also perpetuates the myths that the land was ours to take, without claim; and that indigenous peoples no longer exist.
Land Acknowledgement is one tool for the Diocese of Olympia to use to grapple with this sin of omission. In their document Guide to Indigenous Land and Territorial Acknowledgements for Cultural Institutions, Felicia Garcia (Chumash), M.A. NYU and Jane Anderson, M.A. NYU explain, “These acknowledgements have an educational function that makes them universally applicable, regardless of an institution’s particular focus. They are about respecting and recognizing Indigenous peoples, and their relationships to land through the protocols of naming people, elders, ancestors, and the times of past to future.
Acknowledgement statements confront institutional legacies as agents of colonialism. Cultural institutions have utilized deeply colonial methods to develop mainstream representations of the “other” as territory, in addition to perpetuating and reinforcing destructive colonial narratives. Further, because of the authority of cultural institutions, these narratives have been accepted as truth, informing policies that negatively affect Indigenous peoples. The ongoing effects of settler colonialism need to be addressed.” (Much more information can be found through the above link.)