I prepared the following land acknowledgement for a presentation on the Erie Canal. I would appreciate your comments and suggestions.
While I celebrate the Erie Canal, honor its builders, and appreciate its positive impacts, I acknowledge that the Erie Canal is located on the homelands of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy—the participatory democracy that predates and served as a model for the United States of America—the lands of the indigenous people of the Mohawk, Oneida, Tuscarora, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca nations. I acknowledge the Erie Canal's role in the devastation of their ways of living and their restriction to limited or other lands; negative effects that linger to this day. Further, I acknowledge the negative impacts of the Erie Canal as it fostered the westward travel of European settlers into the lands of the indigenous peoples who made their homes in what are now the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. As we move forward, I advocate the application the Haudenosaunee “Seventh Generation” value: in every decision we make, we consider the impact on the next seven generations. Only by listening to Haudenosaunee and other indigenous peoples will we heal the past and create a more viable future based on respect for all living beings.
~ Sandy Schuman