Land Acknowledgment

At the Diocesan Convention in October 2021, the Convention passed a resolution to establish a task force to examine our history and build relationships with the Indigenous Peoples of Wisconsin. As part of the work of the task force, members have been exploring and curating resources.

Here we present resources about land acknowledgments, Federally Recognized Tribes of Wisconsin, the history of the Oneida Tribe in Wisconsin, and other resources about the Doctrine of Discovery, Native Boarding Schools and more.

Land Acknowledgment

What is land acknowledgment and why is it important?

One of the ways the Church begins the road to reconciliation with siblings who identify as Indigenous/Native American is to acknowledge that all churches sit on Native Land. It was “purchased” through treaties that were constantly broken. It was stolen through lies. Tribal nations were violently forced from ancestral lands to distant reservations.

In Lakota spirituality is the concept of mitákuye oyás’iŋ. The translation into English is “we are all related.” For the Church, this means that land acknowledgment is not only about the Church apologizing to the tribal nations or the Church trying to separate itself from the sins of the past and reconcile what colonialist ancestors did to the tribal nations — it is much deeper and more interconnected than that. It is us apologizing for our sins to our own ancestors and acknowledging the damage we did do to our own siblings, indeed to our own selves. We ARE all related, and when we harm one another, we harm ourselves. When ancestors harmed the tribal nations, they harmed the nations, themselves and all descendants. As Jesus teaches: “just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40). As members of one family, we are called to heal the damage that has been done to all relations, and to ourselves.  


Examples of Land Acknowledgments

The Episcopal Church and Indigenous Land Acknowledgements, a 6-page downloadable booklet available in English and Spanish

The Land Acknowledgment page at the Diocese of Olympia

How To Write A Land Acknowledgement For Your Parish from the Diocese of South Dakota

The Tribes of Wisconsin

There are 11 Federally Recognized Tribes in the State of Wisconsin. Those with a contemporary presence in the Diocese of Milwaukee:

Forest County Potawatomi Community  (Forest and Milwaukee Counties)  

Ho-Chunk Nation  (Central and Southern Wisconsin)

Menominee Nation (Menominee County)

Other Federally Recognized Tribes of Wisconsin:


Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians (Shawano County)

Oneida Nation of Wisconsin (Brown and Outagamie Counties)

The Wisconsin Oneida and The Episcopal Church

In 2022, as the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee celebrates its 175th anniversary, we also celebrate the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the first Episcopalians to what is now Wisconsin. They were members of the Oneida Nation, forced to relocate from their home in New York state. The first Episcopal Church in Wisconsin was Holy Apostles, Oneida which continues to serve the people of the Oneida Nation.


Other Resources

“Owning Our Past” — Grace Church, Madison’s series on the History of Native Americans and Christianity in Wisconsin.

The Doctrine of Discovery 

Native Boarding Schools

Recommended Books and Articles

Patty Loew, Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal. 2nd Edition. 2013

David Treuer, The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America 1890 to the Present. 2019

Kaitlin Curtice, Native: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God. 2019

Gordon McLester, III, Laurence Hauptman, et al., eds. The Wisconsin Oneidas and the Episcopal Church: A Chain Linking Two Traditions. 2019

Eileen Enns and Ched Myers, Healing Haunted Histories: A Settler Discipleship of Decolonization. 2021

Anderson, Owanah. 400 Years: Anglican/Episcopal Mission Among American Indians. Cincinnati, Ohio: Forward Movement Publications, 1997

 ________ Jamestown Commitment: The Episcopal Church and the American Indian.    Cincinnati, Ohio: Forward Movement Publications, 1988.

Deloria, Vine, Jr. Custer Died for Your Sins. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1969. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1988.

________God is Red: A Native View of Religion 30th Anniversary Edition. Golden, Colorado: Fulcrum Publishing, 1973, 1992, 2003.

Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne.  An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People. Boston: Beacon Press, 2019.

Lyons, Oren. 2020. “God, Glory Gold.” August 7, 2020. Video of lecture

Newcomb, Steven T. Pagans in the Promised Land. Golden Colorado: Fulcrum Press, 2008.

Raining, Hillary. “Miigwech and blood memory: gratitude as a multi-lineage spiritual practice,” Anglican Theological Review 103, no. 3, August 2021

Smith, Houston , A Seat at the Table: Huston Smith in Conversation with Native Americans on Religious Freedom, ed. Phil Cousineau. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.

Stromberg, Ernest, ed.  American Indian Rhetorics of Survival. Pittsburg: University of Pittsburg Press, 2006.

Wagner, Sally Roesch. Sisters in the Spirit – Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Influence on Early American Feminists. Summertown, Tennessee: Native Voices, 2001

Wall Kimmerer, Robin. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Milkweed Editions, 2013.

 “We Also Have A Religion”, unknown author, Native American Rights Fund, Winter 1979. Accessed on December 18, 2020.  

Magnuson, Jon. The Bones of Jacques Marquette. The Christian Century, June 1, 2022.