As an organization, the Center at Heron Hill/Alliance Counseling Center recognizes our role in the settler colonial oppression that continues today. We recognize that The Center at Heron Hill is on the rightful homeland of the Ahantchuyuk Native People who have always lived here and continue to. The Ahantchuyuk (Pudding River or French Prairie) people, relatives of the Kalapuya people, are now a part of the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz and Grand Ronde. We recognize that where we are located and the surrounding area has been forcefully taken by the U.S. government and continues to be sold as private property inhabited by settlers.
We recognize that our connection to this land is guided by cultural principles and practices of these Native people. We acknowledge that their wisdom and knowledge have and continue to deepen our connection to this land.
The Center at Heron Hill/Alliance Counseling Center recognizes that the field of mental health, including nature-based therapy, is inseparably intertwined with white supremacy: justification of racism, genocide, cultural suppression, and cultural erasure. While we make significant efforts to challenge our beliefs, attitudes, and actions, the legacy of these injustices impacts our efforts and continues to harm Native and Indigenous peoples. Working within a system built on racist ideology means we continue to use language and diagnoses that are harmful to cultures that do not align with the medical model. There has not been necessary reconciliation for the harm and wrongdoing that has occurred and continues to occur.
We continue to work toward improving our ability to provide anti-racist therapy and make Heron Hill accessible to people of color, including clients, therapists, and equine assistants.
The Center at Heron Hill recognizes this acknowledgement as a necessary and imperfect step to healing relationships ruptured by continued settler colonialism and white supremacist practice and ideology. This statement will continue to change and evolve as we grow in our knowledge and awareness around how to unsettle this land.