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CONNECT22 Native Land Acknowledgment 



As further acknowledgment of the peoples who first called this land home, the Alliance has made a contribution to the American Indian Health Service of Chicago. Others who wish to join us can make a donation to AIHSC here.


More about ICWA

November 14, 2022 Acknowledgment

“As we open CONNECT22 and our first in-person meeting with the Alliance network in three years, we gratefully acknowledge the Native Peoples on whose ancestral homelands we gather including the Council of the Three Fires—comprised of the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi Nations—as well as the Miami, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Sac, Fox, Kickapoo, and Illinois Nations. We also acknowledge the diverse and vibrant Native communities who make their home here today. Chicago is home to the largest population of Native Americans in the Midwest, made up of more than 30,000 people representing at least 100 tribes.[1]

Land acknowledgments have been observed for centuries by Indigenous communities and have more recently come into practice for others. A meaningful land acknowledgement requires speaking the truth about settler colonialism and the genocide it engendered, celebrating the resilience and power of Indigenous communities, and taking action in solidarity with Native nations. Since arrival of the first European explorers, Native Americans have endured terrible atrocities inflicted by colonizers, including massacre, ethnic cleansing, stolen land, forced removal and relocation, undermining of sovereignty, abuse and forced assimilation at boarding schools, removal from their families and communities through the child welfare system, and more.

Indigenous sovereignty and child wellbeing continues to be threatened through legal cases like Haaland v Brackeen, being considered by the Supreme Court now. Haaland v Brackeen could undo the essential protections established by the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA,) considered the gold standard for child welfare. The case could further dismantle tribal sovereignty if it wrongly judges Native American identity to be a racial category, rather than a political identity as citizen of sovereign nations. Haaland v Brackeen is just one example of the continued harm and erasure inflicted upon Native American communities.

As Abigail Echo-Hawk, citizen of the Pawnee nation and director of the Urban Indian Health Institute recently said of her community, “We are not a ‘historically’ underserved population. My history is one of ancestors who survived so I could thrive. My history didn’t start with ‘western civilization.’ I am colonially underserved. I am institutionally underserved. And I am historically resilient.”

We are thankful for the many Indigenous leaders within our network and with the early childhood space as a whole who work to ensure that Native American children have what they need to thrive, including Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, member of the Pueblo of Laguna; Mike Richardson, citizen of the Haliwa Saponi nation and Director of the National American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start Collaboration Office; Dr. Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz, member of the Navajo-Dine nation and founder of the Indigenous Early Learning Collaborative; Dr. Deana Around Him, citizen of the Cherokee Nation and senior research scientist at Child Trends; and many, many more.

Land acknowledgements are significant only when they are coupled with action.  The Alliance for Success works to ensure that every child, birth to eight, in every state has an equal opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed—this includes Indigenous and Native American children. We are committed to using our power and privilege to establish space for important dialogue and growth. Therefore, the Alliance has made several commitments to deepen our understanding of Indigenous cultures, issues impacting Native American children and families, and actions to support Indigenous communities. We will soon launch a learning series for our network to increase knowledge and awareness of Indigenous cultures, sovereignty, history, present and future. In addition, the Alliance has made a financial contribution to American Indian Health Service of Chicago as a gesture of gratitude for use of the occupied land today know as Chicago. We hope you will join us today and into the future in taking steps to repair some of the harm inflicted by colonialism, racist policy, and discrimination – and to honor the Indigenous traditions and beliefs are a source of sustenance, pride, strength, and resiliency.