Committed Collective Action:
The Journey Continues…Native land

by Donna Kennebeck, Iowa AEYC High Performing Inclusive Organization (HPIO) Chair

I recently attended a virtual training in which the presenter began the session by doing a territory acknowledgement. It piqued my interest. Here is what I have discovered so far.

Territory acknowledgement is a way that people insert an awareness of Indigenous presence and land rights in everyday life. This is often done at the beginning of ceremonies, lectures, or any public event. It can be a subtle way to recognize the history of colonialism and a need for change in settler colonial societies. (Retrieved from on 7/7/2021.)

As I think of acknowledgement, I wondered, “What is the purpose?” If it is simply, to do the right thing…we have missed the mark in our understanding of diversity equity, inclusion, and belonging. It becomes a token gesture, rather than an intentional move to know and understand colonialism and its effect.

Colonialism: the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically.

We think of colonialism as in the past, it still exists today. Colonialism has not only affected people politically, and economically, but also culturally, socially, intellectually, and the ability to have agency.

The difficulty of changing the course of colonialism is that well-meaning individuals who have lived outside of the ramifications of colonialism try to right the course from their point of view. I am of European ancestry and come to this subject with the experiences that I have through my privilege. It will take a great deal of “unlearning” to understand.

Where do we start? Here are some references to learn more about colonialism and its ramifications to our indigenous society today.

All My Relations: (l
Websites: | Our home on native land
American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL): Are you planning to do a Land Acknowledgement? (

Please share any resources, comments, feedback, or suggestions to:

Donna Kennebeck
HPIO Chair iaaeyc