Land and Name Acknowledgement


The name, Presbytery of Blackhawk, was likely chosen by a Synod-level committee charged with the details of the 1972 reorganization of the Illinois presbyteries. Rationale for its choice is not included in official minutes of either the Synod or the Presbytery. In northwestern Illinois, the name Black Hawk or Blackhawk derives from the noted Sauk leader and warrior and has become a common eponym for places and organizations.

Múk-a-tah-mish-o-káh-kaik, Black Hawk, Prominent Sac Chief 
by George Catlin, 1832 (Smithsonian American Art Museum)


  • An action of the 222nd (2016) General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) officially repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery, an official papal action in the 15th century that declared that Christians had a divine right to conquer any non-Christians and claim their land as our own. This was the action that emboldened European colonizers to push indigenous people off their land and begin a process of genocide that reduced the number of Native Americans on the North American continent from 250 million people at the time of Columbus to 250,000 people at the end of the Revolutionary War. (see PCUSA Doctrine of Discovery webpage for information and resources)
  • The 223rd (2018) General Assembly built on the work of the previous assembly and took action that requires national PC(USA) agencies to begin meetings with land acknowledgment and, where possible, to seek the greeting and welcome of the Indigenous peoples currently living on the land. Presbyteries and congregations are also encouraged to adopt the same practice. (read Assembly action)
  • FAQs About Honoring Lands Peoples
  • Blackhawk Presbytery: Acknowledgement of Native Lands and Peoples
  • Yorkville Au Sable Grove’s “Before Us” PowerPoint acknowledgement


  • The Invasion of America, a project of,shows by mapping every treaty and executive order from 1776 to 1887, how the United States seized over 1.5 billion acres from America’s indigenous people. Use this interactive map it to find and read the treaty pertinent to your area.
  • Native Land Digital, a Canadian non-profit, offers an extensive interactive map displaying historical indigenous nations’ land, languages and treaty boundaries with related contact information and content.