Rhonda Silence

Cook County board discusses land acknowledgment statement

During a committee of the whole work session Nov. 16, the Cook County Board of Commissioners discussed how a land acknowledgment statement could fit into the operations and direction of local government.

Commissioner Ann Sullivan – who along with Board Chair Dave Mills is engaged in ongoing discussion with a community leadership organization (formerly known as the joint powers committee) – brought forward a land acknowledgement statement at the work session for the board to consider adopting at a later date.

Sullivan said a land acknowledgment is an effort to recognize the Indigenous past, present, and future of a particular location and to understand the county’s own place within that relationship.

The statement under consideration reads:

“We acknowledge that Cook County, Minnesota, is located on the traditional lands of Indigenous people, including the Dakota, Cree, and Ojibwe people, most recently the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, who have cared for and called this place home for time immemorial. This land holds great significance, and it was taken through exploitation. Indigenous people have not only survived here but maintained a rich culture, which continues to thrive.

“We embrace our opportunity to build relationships based on trust, consistency, and accountability and offer allyship in a lifelong process of learning. We support and advocate for the sovereignty of Indigenous nations that are forever connected to this land.”

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with Cook County Administrator James Joerke about the proposed land acknowledgment statement. They also discussed the first ever meeting of the local Housing and Redevelopment Authority Board that took place Nov. 17.