First Church Land Acknowledgment

As introduced during the Fall Congregational Meeting, Sunday, November 20, 2021

We, gathered here, acknowledge that we are meeting on land which has been the traditional ancestral homeland of the Massachusett people. We acknowledge that this land is unceded and remains sacred to the Massachusett, and to their close neighbors and relatives, the Nipmuc and Wampanoag Nations. We acknowledge and deplore the violence and erasure perpetrated upon Indigenous peoples and their lands in the name of this country, and by our First Church forebears. We commit to ongoing listening, learning and acting in ways that honor Indigenous peoples and the land.

In addition, we grieve and repent of First Church’s complicity with the living legacy of settler colonialism and slavery. We know that First Church families offered financial support to the colonists during Pometacomet’s Resistance, otherwise known as King Philip’s War. Our 18th century records show that First Church members enslaved Indigenous and African persons. In 1755, Lieutenant Governor of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay and First Church member Spencer Phips authored and signed the Phips Bounty Proclamation, which legalized the hunting, capture, and scalping of Penobscot and other Indigenous people. We also repudiate the 1452 Doctrine of Discovery that shamefully offered a legal and theological rationale for centuries of colonization, land theft and genocide by our Christian forebears.  We consider the above land acknowledgement very much a “work in progress” as we continue to listen and learn about our history and work towards healing and repair.

SHORT VERSION (first two sentences):  We, gathered here, acknowledge that we are meeting on land which has been the traditional ancestral homeland of the Massachusett people. We acknowledge that this land is unceded and remains sacred to the Massachusett, and to their close neighbors and relatives, the Nipmuc and Wampanoag Nations.

 

IDEAS FOR SHARING THIS LAND ACKNOWLEDGMENT

  • Print in Sunday bulletin
  • Verbalize once a month in Sunday worship.
  • Verbalize roughly once a quarter, with context and links to specific opportunities for action or relationship building in solidarity with Indigenous peoples.
  • Annual Indigenous People’s Day acknowledgment
  • Signs in building
  • Make available to EC and other leaders to use this at meetings and events