Nehantic Land Acknowledgement

We, the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, acknowledge that we occupy and benefit from the Indigenous land upon which our church and our homes are standing.  For thousands of years, this has been, and continues to be, the traditional territory of the Nehantic people, along with the Indigenous kin of other tribes.

We hereby acknowledge the continued presence, resilience, and sovereignty of the Nehantic community today.

We commit ourselves to collaborating with all Indigenous communities in the challenge of decolonizing, recovering, and restoring Indigenous histories, lives, and futures.

We give thanks to those first Nehantic people and their present day descendants.  And we affirm that any land acknowledgement must also contain an acknowledgement of the wisdom of the land itself: the trees, the water, the rocks, the soil on which we live.

We have been taught by Indigenous elders to draw our minds together at the beginning of any gathering and that we should remember to be grateful and thankful for all that we have been given by the Creator. And so we give thanks:

For this beautiful day; to the four directions; to all creatures who are our kinfolk and teachers; to the river and the ocean that have sustained us; to the last 7 generations and the next 7 generations; to our ancestors who have guided us and who are here with us now.  We do not have to ask for anything. All this has been given to us.

But finally, we recognize that acknowledgement in a sentence or paragraph is not enough.  And so we at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme commit to listen to Native voices who can remind us and teach us how to live in balance and reciprocity.  We commit to a continual process of discernment, asking what is to be done, seeking to include voices that have not been heard.  We confess that, in such a great task, we are always at the beginning, and that acknowledgment is but the first step in a long process of self-education and relationship building.

With our Nehantic friends, as well as Lakota and other Indigenous partners, we affirm that we are all in this together, brothers and sisters of Spirit, dwelling under the same sky.  What shall we do with the many gifts we have been given?