It is important to recognize the indigenous people that inhabited this land before colonization and those that continue to inhabit this land that all of us live on. A land acknowledgment is just a part of disrupting and dismantling colonial structure. We encourage people to learn the history of native people in the United States; to recognize the impact of colonization on their lives as well as ours in the past as well as in the present; and to support indigenous communities and organizations.
A.R.E.A. Land Acknowledgment
Land Acknowledgement – Eno, Saponi, Tuscarora, Occaneechi, Saura, and Sissipahaw
It is essential to understand the longstanding history that has brought you to be on this land today, and to seek to understand your place within that history. We honor the first nations indigenous to this state and recognize that our country was built on Indigenous homelands. We pay our respects to the millions of Indigenous people who have protected our lands, waters, and animals throughout history. Land acknowledgments do not exist in the past or historical context: colonialism is an ongoing process, and we must build the mindfulness of our present participation.
When we talk about Land, Land is part of who we are. It’s a mixture of our blood, past, current, and future. We carry our ancestors, who are around us as you all do.
Indigenous communities have been protectors of the environment, protecting their lands, respecting wildlife, and utilizing traditional knowledge passed down through generations. Without acknowledgment or understanding of who we are, this tends to lock Indigenous peoples into the past without acknowledging that they are still living and practicing sacred ceremonies. Contemporary Indigenous peoples extend their worldviews and livelihoods throughout all segments of society.
Please acknowledge that we gather together at all moments to state our values on lands protected through many centuries by the ancestors and descendants of Tribal Nations. Borders do not define us. We have been here since time immemorial. North Carolina had always been home to many American Indian tribes, with the Secotan and the Chowan in the east, the Eno, Saponi, Tutelo, Occaneechi, Saura, Sissaphaw, and Tuscarora in the center, the Cherokee dominating the west, and dozens of other ones spread along the state. As such, the American Indians significantly influenced North Carolina’s history.
I want to honor the people of the Eno, Saponi, Tuscarora, Occaneechi, Saura, and Sissipahaw as we stand on lands closest to them, honor the four directions, the Land, our People, the Rivers, Grandmother Earth, and the Creator of it all. Please recognize and acknowledge today’s eight state-recognized tribes and peoples, Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, Meherrin, Waccamaw Siouan, Lumbee, Coharie, Haliwa Saponi, Sappony and Eastern Band of Cherokee, as well as our relatives, the Tuscarora, as the past, the present and future caretakers of this Land.
We are grateful to Crystal Cavalier-Keck, citizen of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation in Burlington NC, for providing us with this land acknowledgment.