The Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair occupies the traditional, ancestral and contemporary lands of the Lenni-Lenape. We acknowledge the Lenni-Lenape as the original people of this land and their continuing relationship with their territory. The Lenape People lived in harmony with one another upon this territory for thousands of years. During the colonial era and early federal period, many were removed west and north, but some also remain among the continuing historical tribal communities of the region: The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation; the Ramapough Lenape Nation; and the Powhatan Lenape Nation, The Nanticoke of Millsboro Delaware, and the Lenape of Cheswold Delaware. We acknowledge the Lenni-Lenape as the original people of this land and their continuing relationship with their territory. In our acknowledgment of the continued presence of Lenape people in their homeland, we affirm the aspiration of the great Lenape Chief Tamanend, that there be harmony between the indigenous people of this land and the descendants of the immigrants to this land, “as long as the rivers and creeks flow, and the sun, moon, and stars shine.”
In addition to acknowledging the Lenape present in Scheyichbi, as well as those that continue to return to their homeland, we believe it is important to acknowledge the settler-colonial genocide which, still today, continues to be perpetrated against them and which attempts to erase them from history. We denounce the broken promises and violated agreements that the United States’ federal, state, and local governments have made to the Lenape and other indigenous communities. We recognize the resilience of the Lenape who have resisted this genocide and whose lives and culture stand today in defiance of it.
As guests in Scheyichbi, we believe it is our obligation to counter this erasure as well as the myth of the “doctrine of discovery” with our words and with our actions. We recognize the importance of the words that make up a land acknowledgement, but we also recognize that these words must be made real with the actions that are within our means to implement.