We acknowledge Robbinsdale Area Schools is located on the homelands of the Dakota and Ojibwe people. We recognize the painful history of genocide and forced assimilation of the Indigenous inhabitants of this land. We honor and respect the many Indigenous peoples who live on and hold sacred these lands, and we stand with members of these Nations to fight injustice in all of its forms. We uphold the preservation of Dakota and Ojibwe languages, land based education, and tribal sovereignty.
What is a land acknowledgement?
A land acknowledgement is a formal statement that recognizes and respects the land, and the Indigenous peoples who have been living on the land for thousands of years before colonization.
Specifically, the Robbinsdale Area Schools (Rdale) land acknowledgement recognizes and honors the land the district calls home, and the Dakota and Ojibwe people and their stewardship of the land long before settlers first set foot in this place. The acknowledgement also recognizes the effect colonization has had on the Dakota and Ojibwe people, and attempts to ensure inclusion of Dakota and Ojibwe history, languages and culture, and tribal sovereignty.
Rdale encourages all non-Indigenous peoples to learn about and support Indigenous sovereignty, rights, and cultures
In the fall of 2021, members of the Rdale American Indian Education Program began researching land acknowledgements. At that time, five points were developed to help lead the creation of the statement:
- Differentiating between land ownership and stewardship.
- Remain localized and specific to the land Rdale currently calls home.
- Acknowledge historical injustices impacting the Indigenous community.
- The land acknowledgment should be brief.
- Encourage continued education about Indigenous communities.
Understanding the work to develop a land acknowledgement statement would require having courageous conversations, and would cause discomfort to some, in the spring of 2022, a formal plan was presented to the School Board, which received support.
By the spring of 2022, a formal plan was presented to the district’s cabinet, which committed to moving forward. The statement was finalized in the winter of 2023.
Using the land acknowledgement
Using and practicing the land acknowledgment is an ongoing and continual project for Rdale, and something the district is committed to.
More than just words on a webpage, the statement could be read or displayed at the beginning of events, meetings, or gatherings to acknowledge the history and ongoing presence of Indigenous peoples and their connection to the land.
It is not the responsibility of Indigenous staff or community members to read the land acknowledgment.
In addition, posters featuring the land acknowledgement will be displayed in all district buildings and schools, and will be included in printed and electronic publications where applicable.
The following resources are available for those who wish to learn more about land acknowledgements, why they’re important, and how they’re used.
- In Our Voices: Land Acknowledgement, Stephen Paquette, Sheridan College
- Indigenous Land Acknowledgements, Dr. Anton Treuer, Bemidji State University
- Native Governance Center: going beyond the land acknowledgement
Other land acknowledgements:
- Bemidji State University
- The Great Northern (includes a beautiful Minneapolis and Saint Paul Dakota land map)
- Theatre Latte Da
- University of Minnesota, School of Public Health
For questions about the land acknowledgement, please contact Rdale’s Director of Achievement and Integration and American Indian Education Program, Beth Tepper, at firstname.lastname@example.org.