Our U.S. history of settler colonialism illustrates that from its beginning days, our country has fallen far short of living up to these ideals, especially in relation to the indigenous peoples of North America. In order for us to flourish today, we must face the crimes of our past, such as the destruction of the native peoples and their culture, and we must each commit to do what we can to right past wrongs and to uphold democratic values for all. We can demonstrate our commitment to our values and virtues by honoring the lives, the experience and the culture of those who came before us.
Recently The Northern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ has committed to a resolution that takes action toward making amends for a colonizing past. This Amends Resolution invites us to take proactive steps toward healing the legacies of colonialism and genocide towards Indigenous Peoples.
Today we take a step toward truth and reconciliation and honor the native land that we are standing on, the land our church was built upon. We acknowledge that the land we gather on is Yokuts Land and we recognize these ancestral grounds as those of the First People of the San Joaquin Valley.
The Yokuts land stretched throughout the San Joaquin Valley. Their tribal lands extended from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to as far as modern-day Bakersfield and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. So we declare, as we gather here today, that we recognize and respect that we are on Yokuts land.