On April 26, 2021, the Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities published our first-ever Living Land Acknowledgement. Thanks to the great support from our partners at the Lenape Center, we developed this Living Land Acknowledgement to both recognize our New York office’s place as a guest on the Lenape homeland, Lenapehoking, and to commit to a series of actions to make this acknowledgement truly ‘living.’ One of these commitments, is to take stock each year on Indigenous Peoples Day of the progress we’ve made toward implementing our Living Land Acknowledgement. The first such stocktaking exercise took place on 11 October 2021. Today, almost two years later, we are publishing our third stocktaking report of progress toward the commitments we’ve made in our Living Land Acknowledgement. The following eight commitments are themselves ‘living,’ and will be updated as appropriate in the future.
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 the prevention of genocide through the implementation of living land acknowledgements, raising awareness of the history of genocide against Indigenous populations throughout North America, and other projects identified by our staff and partners.
Implementation: The primary avenue through which we implement commitment #1 is through our partnership with the Lenape Center. Over the last year, we have organized a series of meetings and continued to pursue a range of projects to bring greater recognition of the Lenape as the original people of the land upon which New York City sits. This has included exploring ways of generating greater attention by the New York City government and leadership to the important work that the Lenape Center was doing. This critical work by the Lenape Center includes for example, the first Lenape curated exhibition of Lenape cultural arts as well as an exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum honoring Lenape Teacher and Herbalist Nora Thompson Dean. We remain committed to supporting our partners wherever they need support as they engage with New York city legislative and executive officials to bring greater awareness and recognition to the Lenape people and their homeland of Lenapehoking.
In addition, AIPG has further pursued commitment #1 by amending its living land acknowledgement, with the guidance of our partners at the Lenape Center, to include an eighth commitment:
Commitment #8: Encourage our partners in Lenapehoking, who have not already done so, to develop a Living Land Acknowledgement.
In 2023, AIPG launched a new initiative under our living land acknowledgement, in partnership with the Lenape Center, to provide technical assistance to organizations throughout Lenapehoking, but particularly in New York city, on the development of their own Living Land Acknowledgements. We believe that this is an important step every organization within Lenapehoking should take to bring greater recognition of the Lenape people and their history. This is something that the Lenape Center has developed an expertise in over many years and the Auschwitz Institute is excited to be joining them in supporting this work.
AIPG also pursued commitment #1 by increasing the capacity of its U.S. Programs over the last year. This included dedicating more staff to the US Programs department as well as increasing programming. At the end of this month, AIPG will be implementing our first ever U.S. Raphael Lemkin Seminar for the Prevention of Identity-Based Violence. This program will bring 25 local government officials from across the United States to a 4-day training seminar in New Orleans. This seminar will integrate the power of place into the training by bringing participants to the site of memory at the Whitney Plantation, where atrocities were committed against enslaved peoples. This seminar will focus on supporting local government officials and civil society personnel to address the US’ history of atrocities, including those committed against indigenous peoples, as well as its contemporary consequences, to work so that they are never repeated.
Lastly, with regard to further sharing our Living Land Acknowledgement publicly, we included it in AIPG’s 2022 and 2023 statements for the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples and our 2022 Annual Report.
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.
AIPG staff have continued to regularly open events with the acknowledgement statements since the launch of our living land acknowledgement in April 2021. Since the publication of our last stocktaking report, these events have included, among others:
*As these events were hosted from outside of Lenapehoking, the opening statement acknowledged the original peoples of those lands, as appropriate.
Take stock, on every Indigenous Peoples’ Day, of the actions we have taken over the last year and to update our commitments going forward.
Implementation: This year on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we are taking stock of the progress made to date since the launch of our most recent stocktaking report on 10 October 2022. We are detailing that progress in this report, and we will include live and interactive elements to this stocktaking exercise in the future as we return to more in-person programming throughout Lenapehoking.
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.
Implementation: All AIPG staff located in Lenapehoking included the sentence above in their email signatures. This includes three additional staff members since the last stocktaking report.
Prioritize the greater inclusion of Lenape voices in our programming that takes place in Lenapehoking.
Implementation: We are excited that this year we will be resuming in-person programming in New York city. In an effort to elevate the voices of survivors of mass atrocities and other forms of identity-based violence and bring greater awareness to the broader public, we are developing a program entitled Survivor Diaries which will provide a space for survivors to tell their stories and in doing so, compel the broader public to both remember and become active agents for prevention today. Given our commitment to including Lenape voices in programming throughout Lenapehoking, we are honored that the first Survivor Diaries event will include Lenape artist, educator, Executive Director and Co-founder of the Lenape Center, Joe Baker. Joe Baker is an enrolled member of the Delaware Tribe of Indians and is a direct line descendent of notable Lenape leaders, including Simon Whiteturkey, Captain Anderson Sarcoxie (Treaty of Greenville 1795), Captain White Eyes (Treaty of Fort Pitt 1778), Netawatwees or King Newcomer (Treaty of Conestoga 1763), Tamanend, King Tammany (1625-1701), and Chief Nutimus (signed the confirmation deed, Walking Purchase 1737). We are extremely grateful to our partners at the Lenape Center for their willingness to work with us on this project.
Offer a paid internship for future Lenape human rights and atrocity prevention professionals to work in our New York office for three months each year.
Implementation: AIPG was very fortunate to welcome our first intern under this program this year. The internship took place over three months throughout the spring of 2023 and provided great research and logistical support to AIPG and, in particular, our US Programs which focus on supporting the US to recognize and address both its history of violence as well as its contemporary consequences. Among other important tasks, this internship supported our US Programs for the development of the U.S. Raphael Lemkin Seminar for the Prevention of Identity-Based Violence taking place later this month. We look forward to offering additional internships in 2024 and beyond.
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.
Implementation: Since the launch of our Living Land Acknowledgement, we continue to share job and internship announcements with our partners at the Lenape Center. In addition, we have shared job announcements with higher learning institutions serving indigenous peoples throughout the United States.
Encourage our partners in Lenapehoking, who have not already done so, to develop a Living Land Acknowledgement.
As mentioned above, Commitment #8, was added to AIPG’s Living Land Acknowledgement in 2023 and we have pursued implementation through the development of a new initiative, in partnership with the Lenape Center, to support organizations, and particularly corporations who have been less active in this space, to develop their own Living Land Acknowledgements. This process is particularly important due to the ‘living’ nature of these commitments. They are not simply about making an acknowledgement but continuing to take actions to put that acknowledgement into practice. Therefore, by engaging more and more organizations to develop Living Land Acknowledgements, this will create a growing and constant schedule of activities and programming that builds greater support for the Lenape people and their connection to Lenapehoking.
Roland-Sylvestre DAWA is a Legal Lecturer and Researcher at the Faculty of Legal and Political Sciences at the University of Bangui in the Central African Republic (CAR) and a Ph.D. student in International Relations, specializing in international politics at IRIC Yaoundé in Cameroon. He has participated in three AIPG online training courses and in-person training sessions on the prevention of genocide and identity-based violence.