Land Acknowledgement

This is Dena'ina ełnena. 

Anchorage is Dena'ina homeland.

Land Acknowledgement is a formal statement recognizing the Indigenous people of a place. It is a public gesture of appreciation for the past and present Indigenous stewardship of the lands that we now occupy.

Land Acknowledgement opens a space with gratefulness and respect for the contributions, innovations, and contemporary perspective of Indigenous peoples. It is an actionable statement that marks our collective movement towards decolonization and equity.

View the resolution of the Anchorage Assembly designating language for an official land acknowledgement statement to recognize and honor the traditional lands of the Dena’ina Athabascans.

Land Acknowledgement supports achieving diversity and inclusion, which requires ongoing reflection, learning and growth. The resources offered here reflect some of the ways the Anchorage Museum is examining histories of inequity and inviting critical thinking, dialogue and change.

View this video clip from Molly of Denali, as the groundbreaking TV series introduces young ones to Alaska Native land acknowledgement.

View this booklet about how you can consider and use Land Acknowledgement.

Visit this website to learn what Native territories you're occupying.

Scroll down for more about Dena'ina people and culture, the museum's Land Acknowledgement projects and resources to access from home. 

Dena’ina Land/People/Culture

Identity. Landscape. Tradition. Resilience.

 

About half of Alaska’s residents live in traditional Dena’ina territory but most have little general knowledge about the indigenous people who have called Southcentral Alaska home for more than 1,000 years. Since the late 19th century, the Dena’ina homeland has been subject to the greatest settlement, urbanization and population growth of any Alaska region.

The depth of the Dena’ina presence on ancestral lands reflects an early history and culture of a people who have experienced intense change during the past 150 years, thriving through innovation and adaptation. The deepest levels of Dena’ina identity remain: ancestry and family, landscape and tradition, stories and language, and the reciprocal and respectful relationship between the Dena’ina and the natural world.

The Dena’ina language has been spoken in southcentral Alaska for at least the last 1000 years. Dena’ina, like all Indigenous languages of Alaska, was communicated orally until an alphabet was developed in the 1970s. Since then, many Dena’ina elders from the four Dena’ina dialects have worked closely with linguists to record the language for the future. 

 

Projects

Resources