It is an honor to share space with other individuals in the community to discuss land access, reconciliation, reparations and rematriation. Groundswell Center, if you don’t know already, is part of the Finger Lakes Land Reconciliation and Reparations Working Group, comprised of other individuals representing other local organizations: The Youth Farm Project, Rocky Acres Community Farm, The Learning Farm and the Traditional Center for Indigenous Knowledge and Healing. We all come together to help find solutions to equitable land access.
What is equitable land access? Essentially, this was the overall theme of the discussion during the Community Potluck Gathering, the evening of May 29th, at the Tompkins County Public Library. This gathering was a follow up to the Land Access and Reparation workshop and Farming While Black Book Tour with Leah Penniman.
None of us in the working group knew exactly where this work would take us, and we still don’t have that answer. But we deeply enjoy and are honored to be helping facilitate these conversations that are necessary in the community where the traditional indigenous land stewards have little to no land access on their ancestral homelands, and other socially disadvantaged groups of people have little to no access to land as well. Ultimately, the question leads to a few other main questions that were touched upon during the potluck: How can the healing work be facilitated in the community? How can we organize the resources available to assist with non-conventional land transfers? How can we support and be a part of productive wealth redistribution?
It became evident that in this work, the trust building in relationships within the community is in fact the most important aspect of this work, and the way that this happens is through engaging in conversation. Person to person relationship building. During the potluck, about 45 minutes of the 2 hour gathering was devoted to opening space for the Indigenous, Black, and POC communities to voice any thoughts they had. For some, it was uncomfortable to sit and listen for so long. For others, it was the first time that space was made available for them to have the opportunity to speak in an all-inclusive space.
This is only the tip of the iceberg of all that was shared during the evening. In fact, it was all so engaging, there is no photographic evidence that it even happened! Regardless of this fact, the working group continues to meet, and will post any updates and upcoming events on the website. Also, if you have any photos, please email us to share them, or post them the FLX Land Reconciliation and Reparations Facebook page.
Most importantly, if you have not already registered to be part of the larger Land Reconciliation and Reparations community, please fill out this form here so that we can be in touch with you.
Many Thank You’s.