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NEW YORK — It took until the 94th year, but it happened. On Thursday morning, the first ever land acknowledgement took place at the 94th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade that was broadcast by NBC globally.

The land acknowledgement included a Wampanoag language blessing. The presentation also included a traditional rattle song.

Ryan Opalanietet Pierce (Lenape) and Joan Henry (Tsalagi) acknowledged the Lenape territory of Manahatta where the parade takes place annually in front of Macy’s flagship New York store. Mashpee Wampanoag tribal members and language keepers Annawon and Brian Weeden will provide an honoring in Wôpanâôt8âôk (Wampanoag language).

The opening was accompanied by Indigenous Ambassadors living in the Northeast region including: Tanis Parenteau (Métis), John Scott Richardson (Hollwasapony/Tuscarora), Urie Ridgeway (Lenape), and music by Ty Defoe (Oneida/Ojibwe).

The Wampanoag Tribe, also known as The People of the First Light, have inhabited the Eastern coast of present-day Massachusetts for more than 12,000 years. In the centuries following first contact with colonizing settlers, forced assimilation silenced the Wampanoag language for over 150 years. However, through historical written documents by Wampanoag people, language and culture are again thriving today on this Indigenous land.

The Wampanoag blessing, which was written and shared by Siobhan Brown of the Wampanoag Language Reclamation Project, (WLRP.org) aired exclusively in the Wampanoag language, but translates in English to the following: “Creator and Ancestors, we honor you for all things. We honor the Lenape people of Manahatta. We honor all our relations because, long ago, we were here. Now we are here and we will always be here. And so it is.”

Indigenous Direction co-founders Larissa FastHorse (Sicangu Lakota) and Ty Defoe (Oneida and Ojibwe) are committed to cultural protocols and ways of looking at the world that have existed on this continent for centuries. Rounding out the team, Associate Consultant for Indigenous Direction and Project Manager: Jamelyn Ebelacker (Santa Clara Pueblo), Community Liaisons, Siobhan Brown (Wampanoag), and Ryan Opalanietet Pierce (Lenape).

 

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