We recognize that Iron Hill Museum & Science Center, which is owned by the Delaware Academy of Science, Inc, sits on the ancestral land of the Lenape Nation. This land was and continues to be of great importance to the Lenape people. Consistent with our values of community and inclusion, we have a responsibility to acknowledge, honor, and make visible the Academy’s relationship to Native peoples.
What is a land acknowledgement?
A land acknowledgement in essence is a formal statement that recognizes Native people as the first stewards of lands. The purpose is to educate and give respect to those Native people, as well as raise awareness to Indigenous histories, experiences, perspectives, and voices that are far too often suppressed or forgotten. The land acknowledgement can be read aloud at the beginning of events as well as published online and in printed materials.
What is a Welcome to Country?
A Welcome to Country is a way to give a voice to the indigenous people in your community. This is:
• Performed by an Indigenous member of the tribe/group who are custodians where the event is taking place.
• They may deliver a short speech, either in English or in their language, acknowledging the audience and “welcoming” them to the land.
• This speech might include a ceremony or an exchange of gifts.
• Protocol dictates that they should be compensated for their time.
Iron Hill Museum & Science Center educates about indigenous people
The Iron Hill Museum & Science Center works with indigenous people from all over the region for events, research, and advocacy. In partnership with local, state, and university archaeologists, the museum and science center also strive to give scientific study to indigenous voices to build a balanced account of history to the original people of the land.
The collections that the Iron Hill Museum & Science Center take care of are examples and samples that represent the indigenous people that traditionally call Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania home.
Since 2017, the Iron Hill Museum & Science Center has celebrated indigenous people by having the Iron Hill Powwow. This is a teaching event that brings the audience and participants together to learn about native culture from all over the Americas.
We also have a slowly growing film series called Indigenous Spotlight that interviews indigenous people in the region about historical, news trending, and/or controversial topics that many people wonder about.
If you need help determining which traditional territory you are situated in, Native Land is a wonderful website that includes an interactive map. The map is always updating and changing as new historical information is uncovered, since knowing all about original inhabitants of areas is complicated. Reasons for conflicting information can include migration, displacement, shrinking and growing populations, and genocide, just to name a few. Since the map is in flux, Indigenous researchers are working on making information available. Therefore, Native Land can serve as a starting point for further investigation.
How can you be an ally to Native people?
To conclude your thoughts and feelings on where we are, and who was and is here now, it takes time to connect in a meaningful way and to truly understand.
You can help by:
• Giving room to indigenous people when they are at an event to speak.
• Read books, listen to music and lectures, watch movies and television shows, and buy items directly from indigenous people. Native “inspired” is not Native friendly.
• Doing your research to know that indigenous people are still thriving, making waves, and not your Hollywood stereotype.
• Knowing that being an ally is integral for the success for all communities.