By Karen Gath, Programs & Volunteer Coordinator
At the 2019 annual retreat, board and staff members wrapped up a four month long process of determining our organizational values. The guiding values we adopted together are: Intentionality, Authenticity, Community, Delight. Museum staff have determined that in order to embody these values, we will implement a series of new elements into existing programs. The first of these will be a land acknowledgement statement honoring the indigenous peoples of our area, past and present. Land acknowledgements not only show gratitude to the Coast Salish peoples for the use of their ancestral lands; they also spark discussion and lend mindfulness of what can be done in the future to pay our respect and to compel us toward action.
The Issaquah History Museums staff have drafted our land acknowledgement statement as follows:
We, at the Issaquah History Museums, pause to acknowledge that we gather on the unceded ancestral lands of the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Peoples, past and present. We recognize their sacrifice and value the opportunity to live, work and gather on their traditional homeland.
With each use of the land acknowledgement statement, we hope to incorporate our values in the following ways:
Authenticity: Land acknowledgement is a necessary first step in honoring Native communities and combating indigenous erasure. Indigenous Peoples have acknowledged one another’s lands for centuries. For non-Indigenous communities, land acknowledgement is a way of showing respect and honoring the Indigenous Peoples of the land on which we work and live.
Intentionality: Out of respect for the indigenous peoples of our area, the Issaquah History Museums have created a formal land acknowledgement statement which will be spoken before all events, placed prominently on our website, and posted within each of our museums in recognition of the original stewards of the land on which our museums sit.
Community: We have chosen to adopt the practice of land acknowledgement to show gratitude to the Coast Salish peoples for the use of their ancestral lands; to raise awareness and spark mindful discussion about complicated histories that are often suppressed or forgotten, and to compel us forward in our work toward equitable and just practices.
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