Harold Godwinson doesn’t appear to have had much time for immigrants. To be fair to Harold the class of foreigners he didn’t like crossing his frontiers were not political refugees or fruit pickers, they were after his kingdom. Harold was an Anglo-Saxon. The inevitable merger of Angles and Saxons had taken place a few generations prior. It helped forestall hostile takeover attempts from restless Viking and French invaders. I don’t want to give away the ending too early but Harold was, as it turned out, the last Anglo-Saxon King of England. He was already Earl of Wessex when he was crowned King just under a millennium or so ago this week. The coronation took place in Westminster Abbey on the feast of the Epiphany. Just as I didn’t want to give away the ending I don’t want to mix metaphors, but the crown was a poisoned chalice. Harold was about…
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An emerging trend among institutions and organizations is the formal recognition of the traditional custodial relationship between native people and the land. According to Friedler (2018), land acknowledgment can also raise awareness about histories that are often suppressed or forgotten.” Formal land acknowledgment may be as limited as recognition of a historical presence on the land or a more a clear rejection terra nullius and the Doctrine of Discovery. All land acknowledgment statements, however, share an expression of respect for indigenous peoples, recognize their enduring relationship to the land, and raise awareness about marginalized aspects of histories.
The land acknowledgment movement is particularly strong in several former British colonies. In his piece in the New Yorker on September 7, 2017, Stephen Marche said, “you know a phenomenon has really arrived in Canada when it involves hockey.” Marche continues, “both the Winnipeg Jets and the Edmonton Oilers began acknowledging traditional lands in their announcements before all home games last season.” According to the New York Times (Burke, 2018), the movement has spread across Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, and is moving across the United States. In fact, Dr. Amy Farrell-Morneau of Lakehead University in Ontario pointed out “nearly every university in Canada has a land acknowledgment statement (Farrell-Morneau, 2018). The movement is not limited to higher education but is also trending in nonprofits throughout Canada and beyond.
In the United States, the movement has spread throughout the art community (Burke, 2018). The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Abrons Art Center, Performance Space (PS122), Danspace Project, and Gibney of Tribeca all have a land acknowledgment policy. Some forms of land acknowledgment may be signage in lobbies or a written statement in organizational brochures or event programs. Theatrical performances may begin with a brief verbal land acknowledgment. For example, the standard preshow curtain speech at PS122 in New York City states the theater “is situated on the Lenape island of Manhahtaan (Mannahatta) and more broadly in Lenapehoking, the Lenape homeland” (Burke, 2018).
The movement has spread to colleges and universities across the United States. Small colleges like Emerson College in Boston, Goshen College in Indiana, Washington University in St. Louis, and Seattle Central College have all adopted land acknowledgment statements. Larger institutions have departmental or institutional land acknowledgment statements as well including Columbia University, Harvard University, Michigan State University, New York University, Northwestern University, Stanford University, Syracuse University, University of Illinois, and the University of Virginia. In Massachusetts, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Smith College, Amherst College, Hampshire College, and Mount Holyoke College issued a joint statement regarding land acknowledgment. The land acknowledgment movement is spreading coast to coast, to institutions and organizations, big and small, public and private.
In Colorado, there are four institutions leading the way in land acknowledgment. In December 2018, Colorado State University issued an institutional land acknowledgment statement. At the University of Denver Morgridge College of Education Higher Education Department, every academic convocation begins, “by first acknowledging that the University of Denver sits on Cheyenne and Arapaho land, who are the original Stewards of this land.” DU goes further and states, “We also wish to acknowledge all other Indigenous Tribes and Nations who call Colorado home. It is because of their sacrifices and hardships that we are able to be here to learn and share knowledge to advance educational equity” (DU, 2018). The University of Colorado Department of Ethnic Studies has a land acknowledgment statement embedded on the department webpages and the recent graduation ceremonies at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design included a brief land acknowledgment that RMCAD sits on land that the Ute, Arapaho, and Cheyenne once roamed.
In addition to CSU, CU, DU, and RMCAD, there are 15 other four-year institutions of high learning in Colorado. All fifteen were contacted in December 2018 and asked if the institution had a land acknowledgment statement and, if not, if the institution was considering a statement (institutions who did not respond were also re-contacted in January 2019).
Peter Han of the Office of the President at the Colorado School of Mines responded that, at this time, Mines does not have a land acknowledgment policy. Carol Osborn, Executive Assistant to the President of Adams State University similarly responded that ASU does not have a current policy. Ronald Shape, President of National American University personally responded and, after emailing further with Dr. Shape’s staff, it was determined that there was not a current policy, but that the institution was interested gathering more information regarding the land acknowledgment trend in higher education. Western University’s Bryan Boyle indicated that Western does not have a land acknowledgment policy. The University of Northern Colorado also recently responded, stating that the question would be forwarded to the appropriate office and to expect a response in the near future.
Two state institutions did not respond to the media request for this article were Mesa University and Metro State University who were all contacted on December 21, 2018. In addition, eight private colleges and universities were also contacted but did not respond: Lance Oversole of Colorado Christian University (12/11/18), Colorado Technical University (12/22/18), Sam Fleury of Columbia College (12/21/18), Ms. Shaults of DeVry University (12/22/18), Ms. Kochel and Ms. Shively of Johnson & Wales University (12/21/18), Naropa University (12/21/18), Nazarene Bible College (12/21/18), and Jennifer Forker of Regis University (12/11/18).
Nonetheless, Marche (2007) concludes, “acknowledgment is spreading. No level of government has mandated the practice; it is spreading of its own accord. There is no single acknowledgment. There are many acknowledgments, depending on where you are in the country…The acknowledgment forces individuals and institutions to ask a basic, nightmarish question: Whose land are we on?”
Crafting a land acknowledgment statement is not difficult. Amnesty International (2017) has a simple three-step guide to land acknowledgment: (1) Name which Indigenous territories you are currently on; (2) Explain why you are acknowledging the land; (3) Address the relevance of Indigenous rights to the subject matter of your event or meeting or to your activist work in general. The nongovernmental USDAC (2018) has a similar three-step process of Identify-Articulate-Deliver.
Melissa Jacob, Ohio State University’s Office of Student Life Multicultural Center, pointed out that the practice of a formal welcome and territory acknowledgment is an old tradition Native American culture, particularly when hosting guests and when traveling to neighboring tribal communities. Jacob (2018) also stated that land acknowledgment is not an expensive or intrusive policy. While land acknowledgments might seem like lip-service or national back-patting to critics, Flournoy (2016) pointed out that the effort is worth it considering the legacy of marginalized history and rise of the rhetoric of exclusion. We all ought to acknowledge our history, as we live in the present and look forward to the future.
Amnesty International. (2017). “Activism Skills: Land and Territory Acknowledgement.” Retrieved from https://www.amnesty.ca/blog/activism-skills-land-and-territory-acknowledgement
Burke, S. (2018). “On This Land: Dance Presenters Honor Manhattan’s First Inhabitants.” The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/01/arts/dance/indigenous-land-performing-arts-theaters.html
Farrell-Morneau, A. (2018). “Land Acknowledgment.” Retrieved from https://teachingcommons.lakeheadu.ca/land-acknowledgement
Flounay, A. (2016). “What Does It Mean to Acknowledge the Past?” Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/31/opinion/sunday/what-does-it-mean-to-acknowledge-the-past.html
Friedler, D. (2018). “Indigenous Land Acknowledgement, Explained.” Teen Vogue. Retrieved from https://www.teenvogue.com/story/indigenous-land-acknowledgement-explained
Jacob, M.B. (2018). “Centering the Land: The Importance of Acknowledging Indigenous Land and Lifeways.” The 2018 ACPA Convention. Retrieved from http://convention.myacpa.org/houston2018/centering-land-importance/
Marche, S. (2017). “Canada’s Impossible Acknowledgment.” The New Yorker. Retrieved from https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/canadas-impossible-acknowledgment
United States Department of Arts and Culture. (2018). “Honor Native Land: A Guide and Call to Acknowledgment.” Retrieved from https://usdac.us/nativeland/
University of Denver Morgridge College of Education. (2018). “Land Acknowledgment.” Retrieved from http://morgridge.du.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Land-Acknowledgement.pdf
Here are a few other optional links on Rational Choice if you’re interested:
And: Rational Actor Model Theory
As REM sang in 1987, “This one goes out to the one I love This one goes out to the one I’ve left behind…”
“President and Mrs. Obama built/has a ten foot Wall around their D.C. mansion/compound,” he wrote then. “I agree, totally necessary for their safety and security. The U.S. needs the same thing, slightly larger version!” (December 30, 2018)
First of all, Trump wanted a wall across the southern border of the United States, not around every individual home, but, whatever…
This week, at the first cabinet meeting of the New Year, there were a couple of other questionable comments about walls.
“Look, look, when they say the wall’s immoral well then you — you’ve got to do something about the Vatican because the Vatican has the biggest wall of them all.” (January 2, 2019)
That’s a repeat of when Trump aide Dan Scavino tweeted in 2016 that the Pope was a hypocrite on immigration because Vatican City was surrounded by massive walls. As CNN’s Daniel Burke wrote at the time: “Yes, the Vatican does have walls, and some are quite large. But anyone can stroll through the Pope’s front yard — St. Peter’s Square — at nearly any time.”
“Look at all of the countries that have walls and they work 100%.” (January 2, 2019)
So, I took Trump up on this statement and here’s a look at walls, past and present.
There’s the Great Wall of China, Hadrian’s Wall + Antoine’s Wall, Wall Street, The Berlin Wall, the DMZ, the Israeli-Palestinian Barrier….
Though it may be called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland today, it all began in Wessex almost 1100 years ago. From Wessex to England, England to Britain, Britain to Great Britain, the UK has had a few names changes as it grew from one of the seven Heptarchies into the British Empire. Here are the stories of the monarchs who ruled.
Alfred the Great
Edward the Confessor
House of Normandy
William the Conqueror
The House of Plantagenet
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Richard the Lionheart
Hundred Years War
House of Lancaster
House of York
War of the Roses
House of Tudor
House of Stuart
English Civil War
The Glorious Revolution
William and Mary
House of Hanover
House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
House of Windsor
“I have known 11 Prime Ministers and 7 of them were adulterers”
~Prime Minister William Gladstone~
~The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland~
T.H. White, an American political journalist who covered the six presidential elections from 1960 to 1980 famously once said he only knew of three Presidential candidates who were faithful to their wives: Harry Truman, George Romney, and Jimmy Carter.
While it’s easy to either throw all the presidents under the bus or to blindly defend all of them (or at least our favorites), they are all individuals. Many owned slaves and having sexual relations with slaves was not uncommon. Also, many grew up in times when prostitution was legal. The Reynolds Affair, The Petticoat Affair and the infamous womanizing of Ben Franklin show that the Federal Period of American history had as much sexual scandal as our more modern era.
And we’re not even talking about pre-marital affairs…. Or how about the social acceptance or non-acceptance of age differences?
Grover Cleveland, at age 49, married one of his best friends’ daughter who was 21?? 28 years difference? And if you think that’s bad, Tyler and his second wife were 30 years apart….
GW Sally Fairfax*
GW Venus (Mother of West Ford)*
GW Lavenia Vanderweaver*
GW Mary Gibbons*
Adams (hahahahah, ya, right!)
TJ Sally Hemmings
TJ Maria Cosway*
Adams Alleged to have ‘pimped’ for Czar Alexander*
Jackson Rachel Donelson (technicality)
Harrison A slave (named “Dilsia” or mother of “Dilsia”)*
Tyler Lydia Ann Taylor mother of John Dunjee Taylor*
Pierce Jane Means Appleton?
Buchanan Sen. William R. King*
Lincoln Ann Rutledge? Hannah Armstrong? Matilda
Johnson At age 18, married a 16-year-old Eliza McCardle
Grant Madly in love with Julia!
Garfield Lucia Calhoun
Cleveland Maria Halpin
Cleveland Francis Folsom?
TR Edith Kermit Carow?
Wilson Mary Peck
Harding Nan Britton
Harding Carrie Fulton Phillips
FBR Lucy Mercer, etc., etc., etc….
IKE Kay Summersby
JFK Angie Dickenson
JFK Marlene Dietrich
JFK Gunilla Von Post
JFK Gene Tierney
JFK Pamela Turnure
JFK Marilyn Monroe
JFK Judith Campbell
JFK Ellen Rometsch
JFK Mary Pinchot Meyer
JFK Mimi Beardsley
JFK Mimi Alford
JFK Judith Campbell Exner
JFK Blaze Starr
JFK Fiddle and Faddle
LBJ Alice Glass
LBJ Madeline Brown
LBJ Helen G. Douglas
Nixon Marianna Liu*
Ford Ellen Rometsch
Carter (“I have lusted in my heart many times”)
Reagan Nancy Davis (while married to Jane Wyman)
Bush Jennifer Fitzgerald*
Clinton Paula Jones
Clinton Gennifer Flowers
Clinton Monica Lewinski
But it goes beyond consensual heterosexual relationships, as I mentioned already, there is the issue of non-consensual, whether it be the infamous quote by Donald Trump to Billy Bush, Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings or Bill Clinton and his relationships, specifically Monica Lewinski.
Washington, Harrison, and Taylor too are believed to have had sexual relations with their slaves….
GW Venus (Mother of West Ford)
Harrison A slave (named “Dilsia” or mother of “Dilsia”)
Tyler Lydia Ann Taylor (mother of John Dunjee Taylor)
Isn’t it interesting that Gary Hart’s career was ended over consensual sex, and Bill Clinton won the presidency in the very next election? Womanizing is ok, just don’t tell me about it, oh wait, now I know, that’s horrible in 1988 and I guess its ok in 1992 and 2016?
Think of all the social stigmas that have been used to judge people over time, and we all may have different opinions as to whether those were or are legitimate reasons for supporting or not supporting a political candidate. The presumed gay relationship between James Buchanan and VP William King
Deficiencies that may have actually impacted the execution of the office of the President like Grant’s alcoholism or W’s dry drunk syndrome.
And then there are the issues that have been used to derail political careers that are hard to understand such as Thomas Eagleton who had to drop out of the 1972 race because he received electrotherapy for depression… oh, but untreated depression like Nixon’s melancholy moodiness and presumed bouts of depression is ok….
And, speaking of 1972, Edmund Muskie had to drop out because he cried…. And then we wind up with John Boehner as the 53rd Speaker of the House lol
Douglas Ginsburg and so many others who lost their careers or the momentum of their careers because of drug use… then Bill Clinton famously says he didn’t inhale, and we wind up with a wider acceptance of marijuana use by politicians… Clinton, W, and Obama…
I mean heck, Bill Clinton essentially dodged the draft and even went to Russia during the Vietnam War and was elected President… just like W avoided Vietnam by joining the OK Air National Guard, then barely ever showed up.
Obama and the racist lying birther movement that Donald Trump enflamed…
The presidents of the United States have a collective history of owning slaves, Non-consensual sex, alcoholism, drug use, and draft dodging, and almost George Wallacesque use of racist rhetoric… and the losers? Some of them cried and sought treatment for mental health…
So, you know, if someone ever asks you if walking into a pot shop or grabbing a beer will derail your future political career, just remind them, heck, it might even increase your chances these days….