In October 2021, in honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the Missouri Conference revealed a land acknowledgement on the Conference website. At that time, the Conference committed to including the acknowledgement in the official records of the Annual Conference including the workbook and journal. The Conference also began sharing the acknowledgment at the beginning of the Annual Conference Session typically held in June.
Conference leaders were inspired by the Missouri Prairie Foundation’s Land Acknowledgement and utilized the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture’s Honor our Native Land resource pack in the development of the Missouri Annual Conference statement. Because there is missing history related to which Indigenous Peoples understood the land as home, the Conference also included “and other Native American nations.”
The Missouri Annual Conference is located on the homeland of a diversity of Native American nations. Despite European-American settlement and modern development, this land continues to have cultural significance for the Ni-U-Ko’n-Ska (Osage), Nyut^achi (Missouria), Asakiwaki and Meskwaki (Sac and Fox), Báxoje (Ioway), Kaw, Kiikapooi (Kickapoo), Kaskaskia, and other Native American nations.
These nations had a significant role in shaping the landscape, and they continue a sacred relationship with the lands on which our local churches and our Conference facilities are located. We commit to honor this distinctive cultural heritage in our fulfillment of the Missouri Annual Conference Mission, Vision and Values.
A Land Acknowledgment is a statement that recognizes and respects Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards of the land and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories. Acknowledgment is a simple way of showing respect and a small step toward correcting the stories and practices that erase Indigenous People’s history and culture. Acknowledgment can become meaningful when coupled with authentic relationship and informed action. But the Conference hopes this beginning can be bring about greater public consciousness of Native sovereignty and cultural rights, and move us toward equitable relationship and reconciliation.