Posted on November 15, 2022

BVSD School Board to Start Meetings With Land Acknowledgement

Amy Bounds, Daily Camera, November 7, 2022

Starting today, Boulder Valley school board meetings will start with a land acknowledgement recognizing that the district operates on land that was illegally taken from Native American tribes.

“It was very, very thoughtfully created by both Natives and non natives,” said Bonnie Sundance, a Right Relationship Boulder member who helped the district write the statement. {snip}


The school board voted in April to no longer open board meetings with the Pledge of Allegiance, replacing it with a land acknowledgement. Several board members had opposed saying the pledge, asking for a different way to start meetings. {snip}


The statement starts with: “Boulder Valley School District resides and operates on land that is the ancestral homeland, and unjustly and illegally taken territory of the Ute, Puebloan, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Apache, Navajo, and 48 other tribal nations historically tied to this land, who have called this land home since time immemorial. We acknowledge the atrocities committed here, including the painful history of genocide, forced assimilation, and efforts to alienate the Indigenous inhabitants from their homeland, supported by the policies of the United States government.”

Yvette Salas, Boulder Valley’s American Indian liaison, said community members wanted to ensure it included that the land was stolen. Ava Hamilton, a descendant the Arapaho people killed in the Sand Creek Massacre, also lobbied to remove a reference to the massacre to avoid glorifying the U.S. Army’s actions.

Hamilton said she likes the idea behind acknowledgments, though she would like governments to not just acknowledge that land was stolen, but also return some of that land to Native people.


{snip} The plan is to post the full version in the board room, as well as potentially posting it in school buildings.

“When you walk into any school building, it should be the first thing that you see,” Salas said. “Every building is on the land of the Arapaho.”