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Honoring the Land and Its People: YMCA's Commitment to Native American and Indigenous Recognition

24 Nov, 2023
land acknowledgement

In 2021, several YMCA Associations signed a pledge organized by the YMCA of Seven Council Fires, formerly known as the Sioux YMCA, the only Y on a Native American Reservation, committing to learn more about the Native American and Indigenous lands we occupy and to get more engaged with our local tribal communities. While many YMCAs are in the early stages of this exploration, we want to begin by acknowledging the tribal lands we occupy and the diverse and vibrant Native communities who make their home here today.

We gratefully acknowledge Tsenacommacah or the “densely inhabited land, " the traditional homelands occupied by the Powhatan people who have shared origins, cultural knowledge, and sacred teachings with other Algonquian-speaking people. We also want to recognize and honor the current Native communities that live, work, and thrive in our service areas. The Pamunkey and Rappahannock tribes are protectors of the land and waterways in the YMCA of the Virginia Peninsulas service area.

We respect and value the contributions that Indigenous communities have made and continue to have in the Peninsula Region. Additionally, we recognize and honor the sacred and spiritual relationship that has always existed here between Indigenous people and the land.