Land Acknowledgement

What is a Land Acknowledgement Statement?

"Land acknowledgment is a traditional custom that dates back centuries in many Native nations and communities. Today, land acknowledgments are used by Native Peoples and non-Natives to recognize Indigenous Peoples who are the original stewards of the lands on which we now live. Before public events and other important gatherings hosted by the National Museum of the American Indian, a speaker offers this acknowledgment displayed in the quote container on behalf of everyone present."

"Making a land acknowledgment should be motivated by genuine respect and support for Native Peoples. Speaking and hearing words of recognition is an important step in creating collaborative, accountable, continuous, and respectful relationships with Indigenous nations and communities."

What is the St. Mark's Land Acknowledgement Statement?

Land Acknowledgement Statement

St Mark’s Episcopal Church
Glen Ellyn, Illinois

We are a community of faith that strives for justice and peace among all people and respects the dignity of every human being. It is our desire to publicly acknowledge and pay respect to those who inhabited this land which St. Mark’s Episcopal Church now occupies.

This sacred ground at what is now the intersections of Main Street, Hillside and Phillips Avenues in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, has a history we do not fully know nor comprehend. We wish to acknowledge and thank all the Indigenous peoples and Nations who inhabited this land for many thousands of years before us, for their care, respect and attention given to this ground on which we now stand. We also acknowledge the sin of forced displacement of Indigenous peoples by non-Native settlers and the sin of past and ongoing injustices against Native peoples.

It is our hope that this gathering here today, on this sacred ground, will mark a commitment to continuing dialogue and connection across cultures, leading to ongoing recognition of the truthful history of our community and country. It is our sincere desire to continue to learn about these ancestral homelands and to honor all Indigenous peoples who called and call this land home.

This Land Acknowledgement was developed by participants of Sacred Ground of St. Mark’s, Glen Ellyn, in collaboration with Joseph Standing Bear of Midwest SOARRING Foundation, and utilized the Downers Grove Public Library Land Acknowledgement as a framework.

This Land Acknowledgment was approved by the St. Mark’s Vestry on August 31, 2022 and took place on the front lawn of St. Mark’s on Sunday, September 18, 2022.

How the St. Mark's Land Acknowledgement Came to Be

The St. Mark’s Land Acknowledgement came about as the result of a group of parishioners meeting regularly to learn about, discuss, and promote social justice. 

Through conversations during Sacred Ground meetings, the people in the Sacred Ground group felt called to explore the Land Acknowledgement idea. We didn’t fully understand what a Land Acknowledgement was, nor did we truly know how to go about “doing” a Land Acknowledgement. 

Working closely with Joseph Standing Bear of Midwest SOARRING, we met and had numerous conversations with him regarding what the St. Mark’s Land Acknowledgement would look like, and how we would present it to our community. 

Joseph stressed that we needed to do the work to write our own Land Acknowledgement, so that it would be specific and personal to St. Mark’s, and it would represent how we felt. Joseph also steered us to a specific person at the Downers Grove Public Library, to learn how that organization had written their Land Acknowledgement. This individual at the DGPL graciously gave her time to share the DGPL experience about writing the DGPL Land Acknowledgement. The DGPL representative had worked closely with Joseph Standing Bear, and she stressed that a Land Acknowledgement is a living and fluid document. It is meant to be the beginning of a relationship between a community and Indigenous people. A Land Acknowledgement is not intended to simply check a box. It is the beginning of an ongoing relationship to understand and build community ties between groups of people. 

The Sacred Ground member who met with Joseph and the DGPL representative drafted a beginning document. Then, at a Sacred Ground meeting, group members read, dissected, edited, and changed the initial draft. Several days later, George shared the revised document with another Sacred Ground member, and she made a valuable suggestion. This document was then shared with Joseph, and he made one more suggestion. The document that we call our Land Acknowledgement was then approved by Vestry on August 31, 2022, and is currently posted on the outside of our building at two entrances.

We are proud of the work we have done thus far, and feel that this is just a beginning. We hope that others reading about this journey will join us.

Read More About St. Mark's Land Acknowledgement

Click on the following link to learn more about our Land Acknowledgement Story.

  • What Is It?
  • Who Does It Involve?
  • How Does It Work?
  • Why Do It?

Our Land Acknowledgement Story

Native Knowledge 360°—Honoring Original Indigenous Inhabitants: Land Acknowledgment. (n.d.).