Native Land Acknowledgement
Baker Stands on the Traditional Homelands of the Council of the Three Fires
The Odawa, Ojibwe and Potawatomi Nations
In January 2020, one of our 8th grade social studies classes, in collaboration with the 2nd grade class, led an all-school Native Land Acknowledgement Ceremony to introduce Baker’s Land Acknowledgement Statement to our community.
Students shared their knowledge about the native people who lived here before us. They explained why it is important to honor the people and the land and presented the following statement, which Baker has adopted as our official Land Acknowledgement Statement.
Land Acknowledgement Statement
Our school, Baker Demonstration School, is located on the traditional homelands of the people of the Council of the Three Fires: the Odawa, Ojibwe and Potawatomi Nations. Many other Tribes such as the Miami, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, and Sac & Fox also called this area home.
This land was a site of travel and healing for many Tribes. Today the Chicago area is home to the sixth largest urban American Indian community in the Country. The Native people here still practice their heritage, traditions and care for the land and waterways.
We honor with gratitude the land itself and the people who have stewarded it through the generations.
Baker’s Commitment to a Socially-Conscious Curriculum
This cross-curricular learning project, which took place during the 2019-2020 school year, is an example of Baker’s unique approach to Progressive Education.
Our Duty to Create Citizens
This philosophy comes from the writings of psychologist and early advocate for Progressive Education, John Dewey. We believe we have a duty as educators to go beyond giving students the basic knowledge they need to enter the workforce. Our task is to create citizens.
How We Do It
We present students with complex historic, cultural and political issues in society. We challenge them to deepen their understanding of these issues, and develop empathy for others, through meaningful, hands-on learning experiences.
This gives students a sense of agency, the confidence to believe they can make a difference and the will to try.
Children of all developmental stages can participate in this together. When older students team up with younger students, the opportunity to learn from and teach one another builds up their sense of agency.
In this case, our students’ sense of agency resulted in student-directed intensive historical study, outreach to political leaders who offered guidance crafting the statement, and a presentation that deepened the Baker community’s understanding of the lasting effects of historical injustice.
Academics + Social Action at Baker
The Land Acknowledgement project is one of many examples of Baker students working in collaboration with teachers to demonstrate their interest in the world around them, their determination and persistence, and their commitment to equity and social justice.