Indigenous land acknowledgement is an important practice for nonprofits to engage in. Doing so recognizes the past, present, and future of the land on which we reside and offer services. Nonprofits are uniquely positioned to break cycles of colonialism by honoring those whose past and present have been impacted by paving a path towards a more equitable
and just future for all.
Several tools exist to help guide these practices. For example, the Native Governance Center provides tips for creating land acknowledgement statements and offers other important factors to consider when proclaiming an acknowledgement. Native Land is a website and app that maps Indigenous territories, treaties, and languages and can be used to improve the ways people see history and the present day.
But land acknowledgement alone is merely a starting point. The Native Governance Center challenges all to ask themselves: “How do I plan to take action to support Indigenous communities?” This article by Black queer feminist organizer Neesha Powell (she/they) offers three strategies for nonprofits to decolonize their practices, including:
Embrace a culture of abundance, not scarcity.
Increase collective decision-making and decrease hierarchy.
Practice transformative justice and community accountability.
They write, “Decolonizing nonprofits means decentering whiteness and honoring difference within our organizations. It means discovering how our ancestors took care of their communities before nonprofits existed and learning from their practices.”
Nonprofits throughout Colorado and beyond are well positioned to incorporate land acknowledgement practices and continued support for Indigenous communities to effect greater change through services offered and community reach.