Dean Thomason sent the following message to the community regarding the creation and intention behind the cathedral's Land Acknowledgment. Much more information can be found at Saint Mark's Land Acknowledgment page.
A Message from Dean Thomason
You may have noticed in recent months more occasions when we have begun our worship or meetings with a Land Acknowledgment:
Saint Mark’s Cathedral acknowledges that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Seattle, the Duwamish People, who are still here, and we honor with gratitude the land itself and the life of the Duwamish Tribe.
Over the last year a Vestry-appointed ad hoc group has worked to develop the Land Acknowledgment we are now using. It was adopted unanimously by the cathedral Vestry in April of this year, and every group at Saint Mark’s—every ministry, every gathering, every committee—is encouraged to begin your time together with this Land Acknowledgment. The Vestry is committed to this action and many more as we seek to deepen our relationship with and support for the Duwamish People. You can read more about that, and the process that led to this action, on the website, but I hope and expect you will embrace this work as well, with intention.
Words matter, and this is the work of justice to which we are called as a community of faith, and as individuals. If it feels awkward at first to say the words, as I suspect it might for some, I beseech you to press on, keep saying them, and remain open to the conversion that can happen when the words help form you into a new awareness.
In my conversation with Duwamish tribal chair (and descendent of Chief Seattle) Cecile Hansen as part of this process, she spoke of the tribe’s desire to gain federal recognition; the desire to see the economic, ecological, and social harms perpetrated against her people be corrected; the desire to be in relationship with groups like Saint Mark’s Cathedral who are willing to recognize and respect the first peoples of the land on which we gather. I assured her of our commitment to that relationship and that respect for her and the Duwamish people. I made that commitment on behalf of this wonderful community, and I hope you will stand with me and the Vestry in this cause. There is much more to come.
Your Brother in Christ,
The Very Reverend Steven L. Thomason
Dean and Rector