It is with gratitude and humility that we acknowledge that the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) rests on the ancestral homelands of the Muhheaconneok or Mohican people (People of the Waters That Are Never Still) and the Wabanaki peoples. Despite tremendous hardship in being forcibly relocated from these lands by Dutch, English, and US colonizers, today the Muhheaconneok or Mohican community resides in Wisconsin and is known as the Stockbridge-Munsee Community. The Wabanaki Confederacy, also known as The People of the Dawnland, include the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, and Abenaki Nations, who are indigenous to the lands with the English placenames Maine, Vermont, northwestern Massachusetts, and parts of Canada, and continue to reside in these areas. We pay honor and respect to these ancestors past and present as we commit to building a more inclusive and equitable space for all.
We are grateful to artists Wendy Red Star and Jeffrey Gibson; to historian Heather Bruegl, Oneida/Stockbridge-Munsee and to The Forge Project for their input and collaboration. This acknowledgement and list of resources are a living document, which we will continue to update as we continue to learn. The Native Governance Center offers some ways to stand in solidarity with Indigenous people. They write, “Solidarity can look like: donating time and money to Indigenous-led organizations, amplifying the voices of Indigenous people leading grassroots change movements, and returning land.”
- Get to know the Indigenous people of your area, and ask what you can do to lift and raise their voices, honor, and respect their sovereignty.
- A list of essential reading for anyone interested in Native American experiences and history, compiled by the First Nations Development Institute, can be found here.
- More information about the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, the Wabanaki Confederacy, and the Elnu Band (the Abenaki community currently residing nearest to MASS MoCA), including ways to support their cultural work, can be found on their websites linked here.
- Our neighbors at the Ohketeau Cultural Center are dedicated to interdisciplinary education through cultural workshops, dance, music, art, and indoor and outdoor activities that allow participants the opportunity to fully express their talents. Their mission is to provide a safe, rewarding and enriching experience for the Indigenous community of the region. Learn more about their work here.
- Our neighbors at Forge Project support leaders in culture, education, food security, and land justice. Forge exists as a platform for people and organizations whose crucial work serves the social and cultural landscape of shared communities through a fellowship program, a teaching farm developed in partnership with Sky High Farm, community support, and a lending art collection. Learn more about their work here.