Our Land Acknowledgement
“We respectfully acknowledge that we are on the traditional, ancestral lands of the Osage Nation. The process of knowing and acknowledging the land we stand on is a way of honoring and expressing gratitude for the ancestral Osage people who were on this land before us.”
This land has also been inhabited by the Delaware, Ioway, Kaw, Kickapoo, Meskwaki, Miami, Omaha, Otoe-Missouria, Peoria, Ponca, Quapaw, Sauk, Shawnee, and other Native Nations over centuries of history. At Raintree, the forest is a cherished friend. We will continue to learn about and honor the ancestors who lived here before us, and care for the forest for those who will come after us.
What is a land acknowledgement?
A land acknowledgement is a statement spoken or written publicly by an organization to recognize the Indigenous inhabitants that lived there before their unjust removal by white settlers. In this statement, we recognize the violent injustices that occurred and the vibrant and resilient Tribal Nations that persist today despite that history. In the summer of 2023, Raintree crafted a land acknowledgement for our website.
Why is this important at Raintree?
As a Forest School, the land is an inextricable part of our story. It is our story and our reason for being here. Telling the truth of the land on which we play and learn is a crucial step to making diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging an integral part of our organizational culture.
And now what?
Writing a statement is only the beginning of the work. We will follow through with our acknowledgement in two ways. First, we will practice gratitude and respect daily for the wild spaces we visit, and work to protect and conserve them. Second, we will continue to build relationships with the Indigenous experts of our area and share what we learn with the wider Raintree community.
What are some age-appropriate ways young children can learn about Indigenous history?
Start by finding the specific Tribes from your area at Native Land Digital. Seek the recommendations of local Tribal Nations for approved and respectful ways of engaging with their cultures. Many have resources on their websites. The Osage Nation has an extensive resource page about their culture, including a storybook and a video collection about food, language, and crafts. We are still in the early phases of this project, and we will look to local experts such as Cahokia Mounds and Alliance for Native Programs and Initiatives to help us proceed with respect and sensitivity.