Denver City Councilwoman Jamie Torres is bringing forward a resolution that would require the council to recognize past tribal guardianship of the land on which council members make their decisions.
The practice of land acknowledgment is one that’s gaining prominence among institutions, such as universities and nonprofit organizations, across the country. The statements are intended to honor Indigenous people as the original residents of the land and acknowledge responsibility for those communities and their ancestors.
“This is one thing that I felt could be a really key responsibility for Denver City Council to incorporate in our regular course of business,” said Torres, who was unanimously elected president pro-tem in July. The District 3 councilwoman has pledged to apply an “equity lens” to policymaking as she helps lead the council.
If approved, Torres’ resolution would be read at the start of the council’s weekly legislative meetings, following the Pledge of Allegiance.
The land acknowledgment reads as follows:
“The Denver City Council honors and acknowledges that the land on which we reside is the traditional territory of the Ute, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Peoples. We also recognize the 48 contemporary tribal nations that are historically tied to the lands that make up the state of Colorado.
“We honor Elders past, present, and future, and those who have stewarded this land throughout generations. We also recognize that government, academic and cultural institutions were founded upon and continue to enact exclusions and erasures of Indigenous Peoples.
“May this acknowledgement demonstrate a commitment to working to dismantle ongoing legacies of oppression and inequities and recognize the current and future contributions of Indigenous communities in Denver.”
Torres presented her resolution on Tuesday to the council’s Finance and Governance Committee, where it was warmly received. Committee members Kendra Black, Candi CdeBaca, Stacie Gilmore, Chris Hinds, Robin Kniech and Debbie Ortega advanced the measure without opposition. The full council will vote on the resolution Nov. 2.