Posted on July 21, 2023

Jackson Council Begins Recognizing Town Hall Sits on Native Land

Hanna Merzbach, KHOL, July 12, 2023

Before the town of Jackson was established in the late 1800s, many Native American tribes depended on the land. In the years that followed, legal battles over land rights, injustice, racism and acts of cultural appropriation ensued.

Now at the town council’s regular meetings, officials will recognize this history. Mayor Hailey Morton Levinson read the indigenous land acknowledgement after reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the Monday night meeting.

“We recognize that the land we are gathering on is the ancestral homeland of the Mountain Shoshone People who stewarded it for thousands of years,” Morton Levinson said, adding that this includes the Bannock, Blackfoot, Crow, Eastern Shoshone, Gros Ventre, Nez Perce, Northern Arapaho and other tribes.


For Cherokee Brown, a member of the Northern Arapaho tribe, this was a big moment. {snip}

She said Jackson is the first town in Wyoming she’s heard of reading a native land acknowledgment, which have become increasingly popular at public events and universities in recent years. {snip}


The move from the Jackson Town Council to start reading the land acknowledgements came at the urging of the town’s equity task force. A recent survey of the town found the majority of respondents wanted their government to invest in stronger equity and inclusion work.


In addition to approving the land acknowledgement readings, council members also signed on to take further actions, including having staff attend Brown’s “Mending Relationships” workshops, visiting the Wind River Native Tribal Buffalo Initiative and reconsidering the land statement on a regular basis.