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Here's how Fargo Public Schools will use their new Indigenous land acknowledgement

The school district's land acknowledgment statement reads: "Fargo Public Schools respectfully acknowledges that we gather on the lands of the Oceti Sakowin, who are the Dakota, Lakota, and Nakoda people, and the Anishinaabe people of this area."

Fargo School Board during an August 2021 board meeting.jpg
The Fargo School Board, seen here meeting in August 2021.
C.S. Hagen / The Forum
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FARGO — The Fargo School Board on Tuesday, June 14, approved at least three ways it will use a newly developed statement acknowledging that land used by the district originally belonged to Indigenous people.

When the district recently developed a land acknowledgment statement, it joined a number of other institutions in the region that have done the same thing, including the Moorhead City Council , North Dakota State University and North Dakota State College of Science .

The school district's land acknowledgment statement reads:

"Fargo Public Schools respectfully acknowledges that we gather on the lands of the Oceti Sakowin, who are the Dakota, Lakota, and Nakoda people, and the Anishinaabe people of this area."

The Fargo-West Fargo Public Schools Indian Education team worked to develop the land acknowledgment statement this spring, and it was drafted in consultation with regional tribal nations and local Native American entities, according to materials provided by the school district.

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On Tuesday, the school board adopted recommendations on how the statement can be used that were developed by the district's Communications, Engagement and Advocacy Committee.

Ways the statement can be used include:

  • Placing it at the bottom of all regular, special and standing committee meeting agendas.
  • Having it read by the board president annually at the board's reorganizational meeting in July.
  • Using it at board events at board member discretion.

The committee also supports school administration posting the statement in all district buildings and using the statement at school events at the discretion of administration.
Before the board voted to adopt the committee's recommendations, board member Jennifer Benson offered a motion to push the item to the next board meeting to give officials time to clarify questions and suggestions that arose at Tuesday's meeting.

After her motion to postpone failed, Benson was the only board member to vote no on adopting the committee's suggestions on how to use the land acknowledgment statement.

I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at dolson@forumcomm.com
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