Dallas Opera’s ‘Land Acknowledgement’ Mocked

Dallas Opera's 'Land Acknowledgement' Mocked
Dallas Opera House Land Acknowledgement | Image by Dallas Opera House

For the past several years, many of the concert brochures provided by the Dallas Opera House have included a “land and people acknowledgment” on the inside of the front cover.

The acknowledgment states that “Creating a place of belonging for everyone to experience this art form is a vital part of inspiring generations of opera lovers and honoring those who came before us.”

As a part of this ‘honoring,’ Dallas Opera claims, “We are on the original land of the Caddo, Wichita, and Comanche sovereign nations, whose people faced horrible treatment and policies that forced their removal from the land.”

Matt Rinaldi, the chairman of the Texas Republican party, mocked the opera’s acknowledgment in a statement to The Dallas Express, saying, “If the Dallas Opera House wants to announce to its patrons that it is run by clowns, that is their right. But the government should stop funding organizations like this that publicly denigrate our society.”

The opera house is, in fact, a recipient of taxpayer funds, receiving nearly $1.4 million in 2020, according to tax filings.

Supporters of land acknowledgments suggest that “it is important to understand the long-standing history that has brought you to reside on the land, and to seek to understand your place within that history,” according to advocacy organization Laurier Students’ Public Interest Research Group.

However, the group goes on to claim, “Land acknowledgements do not exist in a past tense, or historical context: colonialism is a current ongoing process, and we need to build our mindfulness of our present participation.”

Yet as historian T. R. Fehrenbach identified, “In the beginning, before any people, was the land … No human beings were native to the New World; every race of men entered as invaders.” As the various tribes moved into the area that later became Texas, they raided, fought, and conquered each other to secure resources.

Furthermore, historians suggest that “virtually all Indians of Texas had practiced some sort of ritual cannibalism, eating a small part of their enemies to take their strength.”

This fact fails to appear in the acknowledgment “honoring those who came before.”

The Caddo tribes engaged in “ceremonial human sacrifice and cannibalism,” while the Wichita “practiced cannibalism on enemies killed in battle.” The Comanche, while not regular consumers of human flesh, would do so “under starvation conditions.”

The acknowledgment continues to suggest, “While none of us created these conditions, we have the opportunity, responsibility, and honor to uplift these communities through truth-telling, greater connection, and holistic celebration.”

When asked who participated in writing the acknowledgment, the opera house declined to comment, so it is unclear if any historians participated in the process.  It is also unclear what a ‘holistic celebration’ is exactly.

The Dallas Express reached out to the Dallas Opera House for more information about the acknowledgment but received no response.

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  1. BigMac

    In 1824 Mexico offered generous land grants and tax exemptions to encourage settlement in Texas in order to drive the Comanches out of the region, due to Comanche slave-raiding into northern Mexico.

    • Richard

      Then they didn’t want to pay their taxes or free the slaves thus the come and take it BS

      • Demssuckass

        Ready when you are.

  2. Bill Fox

    This is some weak-a$$ journalism.

    How about we acknowledge that before white dudes on boats with small pox arrived, there were people in North America and they are largely considered to be native.

    You all need to tie your quotes to your sources. I get it. Writing without sources at the end of each quote confuses your average reader that has a low IQ, resulting in them believing that other sources are responsible for the quote.

    • BigMac

      How about your acknowledgement of my above comment that the reason why the “white dudes” showed up in Texas in the first place was to help rid the area of murderous slave holding “natives” bringing devastation to the land?


  3. Pap

    It’s amazing how everyone is bringing up ancient history, which cannot be changed, with skewed and partial facts. Do people actually think America is the only country in the world that has overpowered other countries? England was notorious for invading other countries. (Gotta pay for all that fairytale bs.) Good God, Russia is doing it with the Ukraine right now, and China wants to invade Taiwan. We should be more concerned about what is happening in the here and now. The Indian tribes fought each other over territory. It’s not just a “white thing”. We need to stop this cherry picking of history. Look at all of it or keep quiet. They’re just trying to confuse people about history who probably didn’t pay attention in their history class.

    • Tom DeWoody

      Is it a skewed and partial fact that the pre-Columbus population of the Americas, roughly 100 million people, was decreased by more than half, an estimated 56 million people, within 100 years of the arrival of the white man? Is it a skewed and partial fact that Blacks suffered in slavery in the “New World” for hundreds of years? Is it a skewed and partial fact that that the lying woman who caused the brutal murder of Emmett Till still lives unindicted and undisturbed? Its it a skewed and partial fact that Derrick Chauvin slowly murdered George Floyd while other cops held back the horrified onlookers? Is your conscience perhaps a little bit skewed and partial?

      • Daddy

        No it’s skewed and partial to say all that but not the rest of the stories. It’s not like these facts happen in a vacuum or without mitigating issues.


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