We recognize, publicly and intentionally, that we live, work, and organize on stolen and occupied traditional land that is just one piece of a larger, boundless terrain for Indigenous Peoples; Ute Tribe, Jicarilla Apache, Arapaho, Comanche, the Diné Nations, and others.
We acknowledge that 48 contemporary tribal nations are historically tied to the lands that make up the state of Colorado. We would like to pay our respects to their elders, past and present, and choose to honor and acknowledge the original stewards of this land in hopes of building mutual respect and understanding across all cultures – those that reside here and those that pass through here today and in the future.
A Land Acknowledgement is a formal statement that recognizes and respects Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards of this land and the enduring relationship between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories.
Inspired by indigenous stories of Mother Earth, artist Maddie Sanders explains the story of the Land Acknowledgement poster:
"We all come from our Mother, the Earth. The mountains are our bones, the rivers are our veins, the forests are our thoughts, and the stars are our dreams. Everything we are connects us back to Mother Earth.
When thinking about a concept for the Land Acknowledgement poster, I wanted to incorporate a story that is familiar to us all, Indigenous people are often referred to as stewards of the land. Since birth, we have been taught the importance of taking care of our Earth in preparation for the next seven generations.
As a Mvskoke (muh-sko-gee) woman, I was taught that we come from the stars.
Growing up, I was surrounded by nature; the Earth was my teacher. Running barefoot in the cool dirt, gardening with my grandparents, & learning from the animals. I took a lot of inspiration from my childhood for this piece. Thinking about how I grew up and how I perceive the world. It all connected me back to Mother Earth.
The essence of this poster is connection. It shows Mother Earth with her head held high overlooking all that she is and what she protects. She is rooted in the trees, surrounded by blooming foliage. The water flows down from the top of her head into the surrounding mountains. She is illuminated by the shining stars and glowing moon.
She is our protector, our guide, and our home. Our Mother Earth."
Maddie Sanders is a Mvskoke & Mojave artist skilled in various mediums such as graphic design, painting, photography, mural work, and beadwork. Originally from Tahlequah, Oklahoma, Maddie now resides in Durango, Colorado.
She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Design in May 2021 at Fort Lewis College. Maddie is a Colorado Art & Science Fellow, Soul of Nations Fellow, Cobell & American Indian College Fund scholarship recipient, United National Indian Tribal Youth 25 Under 25 recipient, and Mvnettvlke Onaya (Youth Visionary) awardee. She is the CEO of an Indigenous contemporary jewelry line - Wotko Moon.
She is also a muralist and painter with works exhibited in various museums in the United States and Europe. Maddie's contributions to uplifting her community have not gone unnoticed. She avidly pursues opportunities that can help her and the lives of future generations and continuously focuses on the revitalization and renewal of Indigenous arts.