Land acknowledgments, or statements intended to recognize and show respect to the original Indigenous peoples whose ancestral lands are currently occupied, are becoming increasingly used by companies, institutions, and at public events throughout the U.S. In Corvallis, land acknowledgments are most commonly seen at Oregon State University, with only a handful of organizations and activist groups outside of campus adopting the practice.

But for many Indigenous people, land acknowledgments by non-Natives – however well-intentioned – often come across as empty gestures with no real action behind them, performative and problematic. Statements can situate Indigenous people and the impacts of colonization and land dispossession as relics of the past, obscure or oversimplify histories, and be seen as an end-all rather than a first step towards actively committing to supporting Indigenous communities. And in Corvallis, most companies and organizations don’t even do the bare minimum of recognition.

For our next CitySpeak Forum, we’ll be talking to Indigenous scholars, activists, and artists for their perspectives on what makes a good land acknowledgment, the limits of land acknowledgments and where they fall short, and what are some meaningful actions that can be taken collectively and individually to go beyond acknowledgment.

On hand to field questions will be:

  • Luhui Whitebear, Assistant Professor at OSU, Co-Vice Chair of the Corvallis School Board, and Center Director of the Kaku-Ixt Mana Ina Haws
  • Lara Jacobs, Chair and Graduate Student Representative of the Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) Club at OSU
  • Rachel Black Elk, Adjunct Instructor for Indigenous Nations Studies at Portland State University
  • Chanti Manon-Ferguson, OSU alum and contributing artist to the on-campus “This IS Kalapuyan Land” exhibit and munk-skukum Indigenous Living-Learning Community

Slated for Tuesday, July 19

Starting at 6:30 p.m., the forum is a unique opportunity to ask panelists questions about land acknowledgments and steps towards repair and decolonization. Of course, you’re also welcome to just listen in on the conversation. As always, generous time is allotted for questions from the public. 

Moderators are Advocate Assistant Editor Emilie Ratcliff and City Club of Corvallis President Steven J. Schultz. 

How to Access CitySpeak Forums

Live on The Advocate’s website or Facebook page, and other social media. If you can’t make the live event, the video will be available on The Advocate’s website and social media pages.

How to Get a Question Submitted

Viewers can submit questions before and during the forum. You can email, message us on social media, or just post your question on one of the social media posts of the event. 

CitySpeak forums are free to the public, and are co-presented by City Club of Corvallis and The Corvallis Advocate. Sponsors include Peak Sports and First Alternative Natural Foods Co-op.

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