Honoring Our Land
In our Prayers of the People each week, we pray for the Tualatin Kalapuya people, who originally occupied the land in most of the Willamette Valley. Do you ever wonder why?
Land acknowledgments have become more common recently. They serve as a way to honor the ancestors of our land and, in remembering their sacrifices, come to better understand our responsibility to protect it. At Portland State University, where I work, this has been customary at events for several years, and our commencement ceremony has even included a traditional drum performance of an honor song since at least 2017. As someone who identifies as both Anglo-American (my mother is of Irish, English and Welsh descent) and Native (my father is Lumbee, a tribe primarily centered in North Carolina), this has always been special to me to hear. Recently I attended a virtual conference held at North Carolina State University, and the acknowledgment not only included the Lumbee, but was given by a Lumbee. A lot of people in Oregon haven’t even heard of the Lumbee, so this moment filled me with a sense of community I hadn’t expected.
In some ways, saying this prayer is like a moment of silence for someone who has passed, or when we pray for those in need of healing or repose of the soul. For some, they may just be names on paper, but for those who are connected, those prayers bring deep feelings. The Prayers of the People bring us together in community as we focus our thoughts and words on something in common. I hope you will take a moment as we celebrate Native American Heritage month to remember the original custodians of our land and honor their legacy.
~Blessings, Becki Hunt Ingersoll
If you want to learn more about the Tualatin Kalapuya check out this site: https://ndnhistoryresearch.com/tribal-regions/kalapuyan-ethnohistory/
Image from Oregon Encyclopedia