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On This Land

RESPECT Tulalip tribal members and school leaders pose for a photo in September. COURTESY MUKILTEO SCHOOL DISTRICT

In September, about 50 people gathered in Everett, Washington, to break ground for a new school building. Everett sits on the homeland of the Tulalip Tribes. The school board president acknowledged acknowledge to recognize or make note of (verb) Alice acknowledged that she made a mess in the kitchen. this. Members of the tribes then did a land blessing. “It was a very touching moment for us,” Chelsea Craig told TIME for Kids. She’s a Tulalip tribal member.

NATURAL BEAUTY The Tulalip people’s ancestral homeland sits near the Salish Sea, in Washington State.


A growing number of schools and other groups are doing land acknowledgments. Events and gatherings begin with them. A land acknowledgment is a statement. It is meant to honor the Indigenous people who have traditionally lived in a certain area.

“It is part of our commitment to our community, to acknowledge the people who came before us,” Gerry Ebalaroza-Tunnell says. She’s director of equity for the Mukilteo School District.

Uplifting History

Land acknowledgment is becoming more common in the United States. Several U.S. cities have land acknowledgment statements. These include Tempe, Arizona; Eden Prairie, Minnesota; and Denver, Colorado.

Land acknowledgment has also become part of popular culture. In Illinois, the Chicago Blackhawks ice-hockey team does a land acknowledgment before home games. In New York City, a land acknowledgment was done at the 2020 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Brienne Colston is with the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, or USDAC. (The group is not part of the U.S. government.) “Land acknowledgment is meant to uplift a history that’s been ignored,” Colston says.

ON THE WATER In this undated photo, Tulalip Indians take part in a canoe race.


In 1855, the Tulalip Tribes’ ancestors ancestor someone from whom a person is descended (noun) My ancestors arrived to America on a boat. gave up much of their land to the U.S. government. They moved to a reservation. This happened to other tribes, too. “For me, it’s about making the invisible visible,” Craig says of land acknowledgment.

CELEBRATE Salmon is important to the Tulalip Tribes. They celebrate the first catch of the season.


At the event in September, Tulalip tribal members shared a traditional song. “When we began to sing, we could literally feel our ancestors with us,” Craig says. “It was very healing.”

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