We give thanks for the earth we are on at First Unitarian Church of Toledo, and to the people who were here before us.

We are thankful to the Miami, Peoria, and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy which includes the Mohawk, to the Wyandot and the Council of Three Fires—Ojibwe, Potawatomie, and Ottawa—as well as the Delaware, Mingo, and Shawnee people for our presence on what was known to some as the Great Black Swamp. The Kickapoo and Fox people also have ties to this area.

We know that the swamp, which includes where Toledo is now, became United States territory and was settled by white people in large part because of the Battle of Fallen Timbers here in 1794, which enabled U.S. occupation of the Northwest Territory. A year after that battle, Native Americans were sent to live here as part of a treaty with the young United States, when the U.S. wanted to take better land where the Native Americans had lived.

In 1794 there were not 5,000 people in what would become Ohio. But 25 years later, there were about 500,000, and the U.S. had taken over the Great Black Swamp and exiled the Native Americans, sending them west. So unwanted land that was said to be too wet to support good community or farming, the Great Black Swamp, was developed and became our home.

We are grateful that now greater Toledo is a compassionate region where people of multiple backgrounds and origins live largely in harmony today.

Endorsed by the congregation at the 2021 annual meeting