The Doctrine of Discovery was upheld by the United States Supreme Court as recently as 2005, and Native, Indigenous, and First Nation peoples across Turtle Island continue to fight for sovereignty of their ancestral lands today. The Kingston Land Trust, with the support of the Lenape Center, has developed this living land acknowledgement as a part of our commitment to land justice and solidarity with Indigenous peoples. Organizations like the Lenape Center, located in present-day Manhattan, are working with Native and non-Native people to strengthen Lenape presence and voice in Lenapehoking.
The Kingston Land Trust acknowledges that we occupy and hold title to land that was violently taken from the original stewards: Esopus peoples of Lenapehoking. As a land trust, we consider land our sacred and collective heritage, and we find our purpose in the protection, access, and stewardship of that heritage. To do so in alignment with our commitment to justice requires us to confront the truths of Indigenous land dispossession, displacement, and attempted genocide and erasure. We acknowledge that these grave injustices continue and are the reasons why many of us as non-Native peoples can exist here today. Therefore, the Kingston Land Trust understands that justice for, and solidarity with, Esopus and Lenape peoples must be central to our organization’s purpose and work.
We acknowledge the native plants and animals, waters, and lands that make up Lenapehoking as living relatives of the Lenape. We affirm the ancestral relationships and responsibilities Esopus and Lenape peoples have to their relatives, and we are committed to building respectful, reciprocal, and reparative partnerships with Lenape peoples, so that those relationships and responsibilities may be upheld. More broadly, the Kingston Land Trust looks forward to exploring the various ways we can support the rematriation of land both locally and regionally, and honor the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples in the past, present, and future of Turtle Island.