- Conner Emery
Where CVCHS Stands
CVCHS is quietly closing out its celebration of Native American Heritage Month with conversations about land acknowledgement.
Native American Heritage Month promotes cultural consideration and sparked discussions about prospective indigenous land acknowledgement at CVCHS. Land acknowledgements, in short, are verbal or written references to the position of indigenous people as the historic owners of land currently occupied by buildings and institutions. The practice is increasingly popular at the postsecondary level of education but largely remains an open question for the thousands of public secondary and primary schools in the United States.
“I feel like it’s virtue signaling,” said Anthony Munch, a sociology teacher. “I feel like it’s a passing fad.”
Dave Fehte, the executive director, asserted that the implementation of land acknowledgement at CVCHS would be difficult. “Institutions of higher education are better suited for addressing land acknowledgements at their specific department and public meetings.”
“I think it makes sense on any public land,” countered James Corcoran, the AP US Government and Politics teacher. He sees it as important given how “indigenous people are historically deemphasized” in curriculum about US history.
Jason Jue, the AP US History teacher, denoted land acknowledgements “the very first step” in the process of reconciling indigenous mistreatment and suppression. The impact of “a verbal or written statement,” he observed, “is very little.”
This tension between social pressure and realistic administrative substance informs Fehte’s stance. “CVCHS is limited in its scope to recognize land acknowledgements,” but the school takes “great pride acknowledging our student diversity.”
“I think the history aspect of it is very important,” said Munch, especially on behalf of context and awareness for contemporary indigenous social issues like disproportionate alcoholism rates, though he’d “be surprised if it’s something you see in ten years.”
Jue noted that public policy has increasingly favored indigenous independence and distance from indigenous spaces. “It’s a fine line, but public institutions should at the minimum acknowledge land.”
CVCHS is located on land belonging to the Chupcan tribelet, a linguistically and culturally distinct subgroup of the Bay Miwok.