Land acknowledgment coming to Juneau School Board meetings soon

Students head upstairs during a break between classes at Thunder Mountain High School on Monday, August 16, 2021, in Juneau, Alaska. The school district reported about 300 more students on the first day of classes this year than it had last year. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)

Juneau Board of Education meetings could begin like this, soon:

“The Juneau School District is on Lingít land and the Board of Education honors the people of this land. For more than 10,000 years, Alaska Native people have been and continue to be integral to the well-being of our community. We are grateful to have been welcomed to this place, to be a part of this community supporting the education of all children, including future elders. We honor the culture, traditions, language and resilience of the Tlingit people. Gunalchéesh!”

Board member Paul Kelly recited the language during a Policy Committee meeting on Wednesday. The committee recommends that the Lingít land acknowledgment be read at the beginning of full board meetings. The full school board is slated to adopt the language at its Sept. 14 meeting.

The board began working on a land acknowledgment back in January.

The acknowledgment doesn’t mention specific clans. Committee members said they wanted to err toward inclusivity, and avoid a misstep the Juneau Assembly made with its initial land acknowledgment language.

There’s been a trend locally and statewide of institutionalizing indigenous land acknowledgments at events and civic meetings.

Jeremy Hsieh

Local News Reporter, KTOO

I dig into questions about the forces and institutions that shape Juneau, big and small, delightful and outrageous. What stirs you up about how Juneau is built and how the city works?

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