Nearly every being on our Earth experiences the horrible repercussions of colonization in one way or another, but many of us and our ancestors have benefited and/or have a hand in its perpetuity and acts of destruction. As a nature connection educator and facilitator, it is my duty to give back to the Native people of this land as they and their descendants continue to suffer. Many people lack the resources and access to commune with nature due to genocide, displacement, persecution, ect. My work as a forest therapy guide and nature connection educator is a responsibility that I wish to carry humbly and with great intention. I intend to honor and bring attention to the many ways people and beings of this land have suffered from the perils of colonization. Early in my journey with nature connection education, I saw how harmful it can be teaching nature-based skills who’s teachings are informed by indigenous wisdom and history. Many times I have witnessed this connection not being acknowledged, translating to acts of cultural appropriation and re-traumatization. People native to this land have experienced mass trauma at the hands of European settlers who would seek to destroy their homes and traditions while taking them for themselves to turn a profit. Those same settlers would kidnap and displace people of Africa and other lands, enslaving them, creating a deep genetic trauma that is still very much alive. Many of these travesties continue around the world today.
I recognize the deep history that lives in this land and its significance for the many people who have lived here, whose daily practices, traditions and spiritualities have been tied to the Earth and continue to be in relationship to the land and its other inhabitants today. At my programs, I vow to acknowledge the truth of colonization in its relationship to the people of the land and the land itself. I seek to continue to make meaningful relationships with local First Nations people, people of African descent and people of color who have been affected by the diaspora. I vow to honor the nature of intersectional trauma of other communities such as the LGBTQIA community and disability communities at large, and work to provide accessible programs. I welcome feedback on my work and ways I can continue to give back to the global community. I have deep gratitude for the folks in my life who support me in this journey and hope to do right by them for the sake of our ancestors and children to come.
To learn more about Land Acknowledgement, check out this link.