Living Land Acknowledgement: Lenapehoking
In acknowledging the Lenape as the original people of the land upon which our New York office sits, the Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities (AIPG) wishes to express its gratitude for the nurture with which they have cared for their homeland, Lenapehoking. Lenapehoking reaches from modern-day Delaware to Connecticut and as such, we recognize our status as guests on Manahahtaan, as it is called in the Munsee dialect of Lenape. We acknowledge that the rich cultural practices of the Lenape, as well as their deep connection to Lenapehoking, existed long before the arrival of Europeans to Turtle Island and that they will continue long into the future.
In addition to acknowledging the Lenape present in Lenapehoking, as well as those that continue to return to their homeland, we believe it is important to acknowledge the settler-colonial genocide which, still today, continues to be perpetrated against them and which attempts to erase them from history. We denounce the broken promises and violated agreements that the United States’ federal, state, and local governments have made to the Lenape and other indigenous communities. We recognize the resilience of the Lenape who have resisted this genocide and whose lives and culture stand today in defiance of it.
As guests in Lenapehoking, we believe it is our obligation to counter this erasure as well as the myth of the “doctrine of discovery” with our words and with our actions. We recognize the importance of the words that make up a land acknowledgement, but we also recognize that these words must be made real with the actions that are within our means to implement. As such, we commit to taking the following actions to make this land acknowledgement a living land acknowledgement under the guidance of our partners in the Lenape community:
- Support the Lenape people to address the consequences of centuries of destruction through our transitional justice work with the Lenape Center, including a range of activities such as training programs for New York City civil servants and other government officials in the United States on genocide prevention, the implementation of living land acknowledgements, and raising awareness of the history of genocide against indigenous populations throughout North America, in addition to other projects identified by our partners:
- Since mid-2020, AIPG has worked, and continues to work, directly with the Lenape Center and their partners to fulfill this pledge.
- Open all events taking place in Lenapehoking with the following acknowledgement statement:
- “I’d like to begin by recognizing the original people of this land, the Lenape, as well as their deep connection to the Lenapehoking homeland. As an organization dedicated to atrocity prevention, the Auschwitz Institute believes in the importance of acknowledging the settler-colonial genocide perpetrated against this community and the resilience of the Lenape who, still today, continue to resist erasure.”
- Take stock, on every Indigenous Peoples’ Day, of the actions we have taken over the last year and to update our commitments going forward:
- Each year on Indigenous People’s Day, we will take stock of the progress we have made toward each of these commitments. This will be something that we proactively work toward throughout the year and that all AIPG staff will be involved in. The exact shape that this activity will take will be determined each year (i.e. in-person activity, virtual activity, statement, etc.).
- Include the following sentence in the email signatures of staff located in Lenapehoking:
- “AIPG’s New York office sits on the traditional territory of the Lenape.”
- Prioritize the greater inclusion of Lenape voices in our programming that takes place in Lenapehoking:
- This is by no means meant to be a box-ticking exercise or a gesture of tokenism, but instead a sincere effort that we make to look for opportunities to include meaningful participation of Lenape voices in our panel discussions, trainings, and other activities that take place on the ancestral land of the Lenape.
- Offer a paid internship for future Lenape human rights and atrocity prevention professionals to work in our New York office for 3 months each year:
- This internship will be developed on a case-by-case basis according to the needs of AIPG and the interests of the prospective intern.
- Commit to undertake all future AIPG New York job recruitment by advertising through Lenape networks and recruiting channels in addition to standard job-posting platforms.