As Rural Schools Collaborative aims to rebuild rural communities by strengthening schools and supporting teachers, we also are striving to realize a vision of a more equitable and just society. Much of what was done to create our hometowns came at a tragic cost for many Indigenous peoples. We also understand that as a national organization, our footprint extends beyond our physical office space. If our mission as an organization is to seek sustainable community development in rural places, we must acknowledge past harms to all communities in our rural areas and seek out reconciliation and healing as we attempt to grow forward together. The first step in this process is acknowledgement. Learn more about land acknowledgements here; and their limits here.
Rural Schools Collaborative acknowledges that we occupy the lands originally stewarded by the Sauk and Meskwaki, Peoria, Kiikaapoi, Bodéwadmi, Myaamia, and Očhéthi Šakówiŋ. We believe that our work must actively honor the lived experiences of all Native Peoples, advocate for the truths and powers embodied within Indigenous ways of knowing, and work against the ongoing destructive forces of settler colonialism. This recognition and commitment to action is not only critical for the creation of a genuine and robust model of place-based education, but also to account for the reality that rural places are the primary occupiers of Native Lands. While this statement is only a small step toward larger action, with it we encourage others to reflect on their unique place and the diversity of experiences and perspectives surrounding it, and consider how we can collaborate to end systems of exploitation and oppression which continually seek to undermine Indigenous and rural communities alike.