Skip to main content

On This Land

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

On a sunny day in September, about 50 people gathered to break ground for a new school building in Everett, Washington. The city sits on the homeland of the Tulalip Tribes. The president of the school board acknowledged this in his opening remarks. Then members of the tribes did a land blessing. “It was a very touching moment for us,” Chelsea Craig, a Tulalip tribal member, told TIME for Kids.

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


Around the country, schools and other organizations are starting public events and gatherings with a land acknowledgment. This is a statement meant to honor the Indigenous people who have traditionally lived in a particular area.

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

Uplifting History

Land acknowledgment is a common practice in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. It’s becoming more widespread in the United States. Several U.S. cities have created land acknowledgment statements. These include Flagstaff and 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 every home game to honor the state’s Native tribes. In New York City, a land acknowledgment was done at the 2020 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Brienne Colston is with the United States Department of Arts and Culture, or USDAC. (Despite its name, 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 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. “It is about telling the story of people who have been silenced.”

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.”

Paired Text

United States

The Kid Report: On This Land

November 10, 2021

The story "On This Land"—about honoring Native land—appears in this week's issue of TIME for Kids. Nathan Whittinghill attends middle school in the Mukilteo School District, in Washington State. Here, he writes about what land acknowledgement means to him and…


United States

Tribal Lands Returned

July 29, 2020

The Esselen Tribe is a group of indigenous people in Monterey County, California. On July 27, the Esselen regained land that belonged to their ancestors. It is the first time they have gotten back any of their former territory, which…


United States

Name Change

July 6, 2020

The Cleveland, Ohio, Major League Baseball team has been known as the Cleveland Indians since 1915. But that might change soon. On July 3, the organization announced it’s considering new names. “We are committed to engaging our community. . .…


United States

National Treasure

January 11, 2019

For Kari Cobb, hiking in the Grand Canyon is a journey through history. At the bottom, the Colorado River flows as it has for some 6 million years. Gazing up at the cliff face, Cobb can almost feel the presence…


United States

The Final Inning

March 16, 2018

For more than 70 years, the face of baseball in Cleveland, Ohio, has been Chief Wahoo, the mascot for the Cleveland Indians Major League Baseball team. He’s a cartoon of an American Indian, with a big nose, feather headdress, and…

United States

A Cool School

November 4, 2016

For most kids, a typical school day includes lessons in math, science, and English language arts. But for Callista Grant, 11, a typical day might also include instruction in American Indian drumming and dancing. She studies the Ojibwe (oh-jib-way) and Lakota languages,…

More from United States