A land acknowledgement, plus ten stories from the archives on Indigenous life in the region
The Rust Belt has been Indigenous land far longer than it’s been the Rust Belt. We must start there. When we talk about this region, we are talking about the ancestral homelands of the Dakota, Lenape (Delaware), Haudenosaunee, Myaamia, Ojibwe, Ottawa, Potawatomi, Seneca, Shawnee, and Wyandot, among other Great Lakes tribes. Much of this territory was ceded or stolen at gunpoint through hundreds of treaties in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, including the Treaty of Greenville in 1795, and the region’s residents were forcibly removed after long and violent campaigns by the United States.
Of course, Indigenous people and communities continue to be a vital part of life in the region, and to have significant and meaningful connections to this place—though this magazine hasn’t always reflected that reality. We’ll correct this in the coming year with a more expansive investment in Indigenous creators, including more substantial coverage of the Indigenous roots of the Rust Belt, stories on the legacies of colonization, and perspectives from tribal communities in the present. We begin that work today by naming the tribes from whom this land was stolen, and the processes by which it came to be part of the United States.
In the meantime, during this holiday season, we invite our readers to spend some time engaging with stories of Indigenous life in the region. What follows are ten stories from the Belt archives, a snapshot of what we have produced in the past. Our work does not end here, and neither should the work of any non-Native person or organization living on Indigenous land. Let this mark a starting point for engagement as we endeavor to live with greater awareness and justice in the place we call home.
-Ryan Schnurr, editor
Poems: Sipu Asuwakana (River Songs)
By D.A. Lockhart
Examining Minnesota’s Indigenous History
By Katrina Phillips
Chicago’s First Nations Garden
By Pat Nabong
The Last, First Miami Speakers
By Ryan Schnurr
The Life and Death of the Chickahominy Indian Tribal Rescue Mission
By Kailey Sherrick
Halted Waters: The Seneca Nation and the Building of the Kinzua Dam
By Maria Diaz-Gonzalez
Recovering the Indigenous Roots of Michigan’s Norton Mounds
By Marjorie Steele
The Word Collector: Ray Young Bear of the Meskwaki
By Avery Gregurich
Winona LaDuke’s Last Battle
By Frank Bures
Poem: Fragmentos de Niña Codiciosa
By Christiana Castillo ■
Belt is actively seeking pitches and submissions from Indigenous writers, reporters, poets, and photographers. All contributors are paid a fair rate for their work. Find information on pitching and submitting here.
Cover image of Anthony Tamez, a member of Chi-Nations Youth Council who identifies as Cree, Lakota, and Black, by Pat Nabong for Belt Magazine.
Belt Magazine is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. To support independent writing and journalism made by and for the Rust Belt and greater Midwest, make a donation to Belt Magazine, or become a member starting at just $5 a month.