Land Acknowledgments

Cindy Gross
Befriending Dragons
3 min readFeb 12, 2021

Illustration: Three women holding hands in a circle, viewed from above.

It’s becoming common to have “land acknowledgements” at justice focused gatherings. This is a way to recognize and respect Native peoples and their relationship with the land we colonizers stole from them. It also strengthens everyone’s relationship to nature, the lands we occupy, and the communities our dominant cultures often never take the time to see. Sometimes a land acknowledgement is simply asking people to name the traditional territory they reside on as part of their introduction, and sometimes it’s one person bringing a deeper discussion to the gathering.

I delivered this land acknowledgement February 12, 2021 to a SheEO gathering. SheEO is a radically generous community supporting women + non-binary people working on the World’s To-Do List. It is an uplifting community for women + non-binary folks starting a social impact business and for anyone who supports social impact businesses through advice, caring, sponsorship, and funding.

Thank you for taking part in today’s land acknowledgement. I encourage those unfamiliar with the practice to learn more about why it is so important and incorporate it into your own communities. I encourage you to use one of the land maps such as to find what land you occupy, then visit those nations’ sites to get their thoughts on land acknowledgements and how we help each other thrive.

I am Cindy Gross. I reside in Issaquah, WA outside Seattle in the US — the stolen lands of the Duwamish and Coast Salish.

We, I, still benefit from institutions, including governments and schools, built on land stolen from indigenous folk, built with the labor of Black people ripped from their own indigenous homelands.

I am a descendant of both the colonizers and those they tried to destroy — the Lenape, now known as the Delaware, who greeted tired, starving travelers on America’s east coast, and welcomed them to this continent. Our society still suffers from the suppression of the matrilineal cultures of so many indigenous tribes, and we will grow and thrive when we reclaim more of those community focused traits we’ve coded as too feminine and therefore not valuable.

I am descended from the Lenape peoples, and I am a citizen of two Native nations. I know my legally defined blood quantum, but that doesn’t tell me

Cindy Gross
Befriending Dragons

She/Her. I nurture equitable anti-bullying, anti-racist cultures via coaching partnerships with folks on their own personal culture change journeys.