Friday, June 21, 2024
The RP Group

Diamond Valley Lake

 The RP Group’s Land Acknowledgment Process

The RP Group intends for its land acknowledgment to move beyond delivering a performative statement and instead authentically demonstrate our commitment to better serving Native American communities. The acknowledgment is tailored to each event where it is presented, so we do not simply read the same statement each time. To customize the acknowledgment at our in-person events, we highlight the work of at least one college in the local area to show real-life examples of how colleges are supporting their Native American students. Our hope is that each time our land acknowledgment is shared, it is authentic and meaningful.

Indigenous FamilyWe also aspire to be purposeful in determining when and where to give a land acknowledgment to avoid it becoming perfunctory or performative. We decided to present our land acknowledgment at our (1) conferences and other in-person events, (2) virtual workshops and webinars with a broad focus on equity or specific to Native American student success, and (3) in-person Board and staff meetings.

The process for presenting our land acknowledgment includes:

  • Determining whether the particular event meets our criteria above

  • Researching the correct pronunciation for each tribe and including the phonetic pronunciation in the script

  • Identifying who will present the land acknowledgment at the event

  • Incorporating language at the end of the land acknowledgment to help transition to the rest of the program

Our land acknowledgment consists of two parts so it can be customized for each presentation with the context of the event and specifics of the event’s location.

Sunrise photo of California hills and rolling fog coming in.The first part is the general land acknowledgment. The second part is an addendum that is customizable depending on whether the event is in person or virtual. For example:

  • For in-person events, research the tribes indigenous to the event location and explore how local colleges are supporting Native American students and partnering with tribal communities.

  • For virtual events, research the tribes indigenous to where the presenter resides and incorporate that information into the customized version.

We then encourage attendees to learn more about Indigenous territories, languages, lands, and ways of life—in general and specific to the land they now occupy—and seek ways to support their local tribes with more than just words. We include sample suggestions for how they can learn more about and support the tribes indigenous to their area, including: 

  • Learn the true story of Christopher ColumbusIndigenous Family

  • Join an Indigenous Peoples’ Day event

  • Donate money to programs that support Native communities 

  • Read, watch, and engage in content created by Native people 

  • Talk about Native American issues

  • Support Native-owned businesses

We use slides, whether in person or virtual, to share this information along with a QR code and/or link for Native Land Digital as a reference source.

We close our land acknowledgment by sharing our commitment to highlight the work of colleges with their local Indigenous peoples at our in-person events, and we ask attendees to email us if they would like us to include their college’s work in our future acknowledgments.

Finally, we want to acknowledge the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office for creating and sharing this valuable resource: California Land Acknowledgement and Tribal Consultation Toolkit for Serving American Indian and Alaska Native Students. We thank our colleagues for their efforts that greatly inspired our work here. It is our hope that - by sharing our intentions, motivations, and process - we can help others who are considering or reconsidering their land acknowledgment.