Against Land Acknowledgements

Source: Quillette
by Stuart Reges

“[Indigenous land acknowledgements] are sombre declarations intended to acknowledge that land now used for some event or purpose was once inhabited by indigenous tribes (some acknowledgements add that the land was unjustly taken). They are rather like ritual acts of expiatory prayer, usually recited by rote from a standardized text. It doesn’t seem to matter much whether or not the speaker actually agrees with the sentiments expressed; what’s important is that the required words are spoken. … At first, I just ignored these performative displays — they are faintly annoying and serve no practical purpose, but they struck me as basically harmless. As their appearances become more persistent, however, I began to worry that they represent affirmation of a specific ideology. As such, they constitute a flagrant violation of the institutional neutrality recommended by the University of Chicago’s Kalven Report in 1967.” (01/12/22)