One thing I've been thinking a lot about lately regarding territorial acknowledgments is the way so many conceive of "territorial"--as in, an empty space on which certain names are overlaid, rather than networks of relations in which peoples are embedded and in active kinship.
How might we also honour those relations-as-territory and encompass the kinship networks that Indigenous peoples are working so hard to heal, strengthen, and in some cases restore, rather than project thingifying colonial conceptions of land and property?
It's dangerously easy to make a territorial acknowledgment that starts with a baseline assumption that Indigenous communities are just *on* a static landscape rather than *of* a multidimensional set of relations that need care, attention, and respect.
I believe in the value of acknowledgments, but I also think there's a lot more work to do in communicating and understanding why they matter and what they demand of the people doing the acknowledgment. They're not about optics, but relations, and expansive ones at that.
And it's frustrating to see how some of the same non-Indigenous people who offer acknowledgments are quick to criticize Indigenous communities for actually living in unromantic and complex but meaningful relationship with our homelands.
Human relations are complicated; other-than-human relations even more so. And those are even more challenging with centuries of layered colonial extraction, pollution, extirpation, dispossession, and impoverishment. "Territory" is context, too, not just landscape.
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