District 65 approved the following Land Acknowledgement at the March 22, 2021 regular Board of Education meeting. The following acknowledgement is read aloud during each regular board meeting as part of the district's commitment to equity.
Land Acknowledgement and Acknowledgement of the Contributions of the Enslaved
"We take time to acknowledge that the land we meet on is the traditional homelands of the Council of Three Fires, the Potawatomi, Ojibwe and Odawa. This land also served as an important meeting place for Miami, Ho-Chunk, the Menominee, Inoka, Sac, Fox, Peoria, Arapaho, Cheyenne and other Tribal nations. This land has long been a center for Indigenous people to gather, trade, and maintain kinship ties. Located at the intersection of several great waterways, the region has become the site of travel and prosperity. We acknowledge Evanston and John Evans are tied to the massacre of the Arapaho and Cheyenne for railroads and westward expansion upon which John Evans developed his wealth and founded Evanston. This land was violently taken under settler colonialism through genocide and open warfare, and the region that is now Illinois and Chicagoland is still home to thousands of Native people who are actively struggling for sovereignty, self-determination and justice.
The genocidal acts of settler colonialism extended to peoples of Africa and their enslaved descendants. Despite Illinois eventually prohibiting slavery, slavery was an accepted practice before and after statehood; the vestiges of slavery remain present throughout the United States and directly affect the descendants of enslaved peoples, descendants who help define the African Diaspora; rich, and heterogeneous communities descended from African peoples. The genocidal patterns of violence against peoples of African descent and indigenous people have been replicated to exclude and harm people from many intersecting marginalized identities, religious, minoritized, disabled, and LGBTQ identified peoples, BIPOC and POC writ large, in the United States. These patterns of violence demonstrate that the pursuit to end State-sanctioned violence against BIPOC is a daily struggle for liberation from continued social, political, and economic anti-Black racism and oppression.
Today, we acknowledge that we are living, breathing, loving, grieving, laughing, and sharing space on unceded territory. May we learn to honor the historical and contemporary presence and power of the people and their belief that we must be caretakers of the lands and waters for the livelihood of future generations.
The land that surrounds us is part of who we are; it reflects our histories. It is within District 65’s responsibility as an academic institution to disseminate knowledge about Black and Indigenous peoples and, marginalized peoples writ large, consistent with our commitment to equity, we will work towards sharing truth and promoting healing for the sake of our children and families.
It is important to understand the longstanding history that has brought us to reside on the land, and to seek to understand our place within that history. Land acknowledgements do not exist in the past tense, or only in a historical context: Colonialism is a current ongoing process, and we need to understand our present participation. We encourage everyone consuming this message to continue expanding their knowledge and reduce their harm through awareness of local mutual aid models for survival and engagement with online and local resources such as the Chicago American Indian Community Collaborative, and The Shorefront Legacy Center."