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Land Acknowledgements

As part of our celebration of Pride month, we’ll be highlighting the importance of decolonizing the food system, building self-sufficiency for Washington’s Indigenous populations, and the liberation from systems of oppression. The interlocking systems of oppression experienced by the LGBTQIA+ community can be understood with an acknowledgement of the culture and history of the traditional lands that queer people live on. Liberation from these systems of oppression experienced by queer people will also require us to work towards the collective liberation of all people.

We’d like to start with an acknowledgement of the traditional and stolen lands that we reside on. While Northwest Harvest maintains a statewide presence, our hubs of operation reside on the traditional lands of the Duwamish, the Yakama, the Palouse, and the Spokane people – we are grateful to share space and time with you.

    • Learn about Real Rent Duwamish, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the “revival of Duwamish culture and the vitality of the Duwamish Tribe.” Real Rent Duwamish holds Seattleites accountable to repaying and acknowledging the exploitation of land and labor in this vibrant and thriving City. “The Duwamish have lived here since time immemorial. Their culture and identity are tied to the history and health of the land. We stand to learn from the Tribe as stewards of this area and to act in solidarity with them to keep this place alive and thriving.” We could not call Seattle home without the land stewardship of the Duwamish people.
    • The Yakama War, a violent 4-year conflict beginning in 1855, was spurred by Governor Isaac Stevens forcing Indigenous populations to relinquish in excess of 6-million acres of land to the United States Government. In exchange, the Yakama people were promised that white miners and settlers would not be permitted to trespass on tribal lands while they awaited ratification of the treaty from the United States Senate. This compromise was broken when white miners and colonizers violated the land and displaced the Yakama people that resided on it. By 1858, the Yakama people had lost 90 percent of their traditional lands and were confined to a reservation. Their ability to gather their traditional foods had been destroyed.
    • Before the Yakama War of 1855, where the Palouse people fought alongside the Yakama people, the Palouse people had been expert horse breeders and traders and, like other Indigenous populations, relied heavily on fishing along the Columbia Plateau. However, colonial activity from the Yakama War and the forced displacement that ensued sent the Palouse people to Oklahoma. The Palouse people were not able to return to their traditional land and ancestors until 1885.
    • Prior to the westward expansion of white colonizers and settlers, the Spokane people had inhabited roughly 3 million acres of land. In 1881, President Rutherford B. Hayes, through executive order, limited the Spokane people’s territory to 157,376 acres. In addition to this displacement, the damming of the Spokane and Columbia rivers also severely limited access to salmon, the main economic activity, spiritual base, and source of subsistence for the Spokane people.

Land acknowledgments are a simple, powerful way of showing respect and a step toward correcting the stories and practices that erase Indigenous people’s history and culture. Whose lands do you reside on? View this interactive map from Native Land Digital to learn more about the Indigenous people who inhabited your community before you.