By Damali Robertson, Director of DEIB
It’s Native American Heritage Month. LifeLong offices and clinics are located on the lands of the Miwok, Ohlone, Muwekma, Chochenyo, the Karkin, and the Confederated Villages of the Lisjan people. There are more than 150 federally recognized and self-identified tribes across California. More than 18,000 Native American people live in the Bay Area. At LifeLong, we serve Native American patients and employ Native American staff. That is why it feels important to celebrate Native American people and cultures this month. That is also the reason we seek to honor Native American people and their land every day, as we do the work to become more equitable.
I joined LifeLong in September 2023 and recognized right away that we needed to draft an organization-wide land acknowledgement. To that end, I recently began working on a first draft. The first draft is simple. Here it is. However, once the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee begins its work in the new year, I would like to finalize this draft and have it adopted across the organization.
If your office, department, or clinic isn’t already in the practice of saying a land acknowledgement before meetings, gatherings, and events, I invite you to begin thinking about it. You can take a look at my existing draft and adapt it, as needed. You can also take a look at another example of a land and labor acknowledgment written by Contra Costa County’s Office of Racial and Social Justice, here. If you need support thinking about it, please reach out. I will make the DEIB committee’s land acknowledgement available in the new year.