“It is with gratitude and humility that we acknowledge that we are learning, speaking and gathering on the ancestral homelands of the Mohican people, who are the indigenous peoples of this land. Despite tremendous hardship in being forced from here, today their community resides in Wisconsin and is known as the Stockbridge-Munsee Community. We pay honor and respect to their ancestors past and present as we commit to building a more inclusive and equitable space for all.”
Thank you to Heather Bruegel, Director of Cultural Affairs for the Stockbridge-Munsee Community for providing us with this language for our land acknowlegement.
Why We Offer A Land Acknowledgement
We recognize our part in the ongoing occupation of Native land. Despite continued colonization and forced removal, Indigenous peoples continue to govern and steward their historic lands. We work to educate ourselves on the history of the land we occupy, take steps toward repairing harm to the people who cherish and maintain that land, and offer respect to Indigenous communities in our country today.
About the Mohicans
The land on which we are currently performing was inhabited by the Mohican people, the “People of the Waters that are Never Still.” Their lands extended from western Massachusetts into New York, Vermont, and Connecticut, where they settled along rivers in circular wik-wams or in much larger longhouses, relying on the rivers and the woods to fish and hunt. The Mohican people and the Shaker community in western Massachusetts had a history of working together. The Mohicans taught the Shakers how to coexist with the land and about forms of craftsmanship, including traditional basket-weaving, which became important within the Shaker community.
European colonizers disrupted the Mohicans’ lives. Attempting to escape, some moved, while others were forcibly relocated by the 1830 Indian Removal Act. They endured hardships as the US government continued to change laws affecting the land on which they lived. Today, the most prominent group of Mohicans is the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians, located in northeastern Wisconsin. The community and tribal government have grown over the last several decades. In the 1970s, a historical committee was formed to gather and preserve documents and artifacts from original Mohican homelands.
A written and spoken Land Acknowledgement is just the first step to take in seeking justice for Indigenous peoples in both in the theatre and in everyday life. We invite you to view the links below to learn more about Indigenous groups in the area, as well as to directly support the work they do for historical and cultural preservation.
To learn about Indigenous tribes where you live:
Native Land: A website run by the nonprofit organization Native Land Digital, which strives to map Indigenous lands in a way that changes, challenges, and improves the way people see the history of their countries and peoples Includes links to websites run by local tribes about their history, language, and current events.
To learn about the Mohican tribe and the present-day Stockbridge-Munsee band of Mohican Indians:
The Stockbridge-Munsee Community: The official page of the Band of Mohican Indians, containing updates for community members; information about the group and its governance, attractions, and resources; and history about the Mohicans past and present.
The Arvid E. Miller Memorial Library Museum: Home to research about and artifacts from Mohican history.
Mohican Miles: An exhibit on Mohican history and culture created through collaboration between the Stockbridge-Munsee band’s Department of Cultural Affairs and the Trustees of Reservations, located at the Mission House museum in Stockbridge, MA.
To donate and take action:
Historic preservation, research, and language education: Direct donation link to support the vital work done by the Historic Preservation Committee and the Arvid E. Miller Memorial Library museum to preserve the history, languages and culture of the Mohican tribe.
MA Indigenous Agenda: Learn more about proposed legislation in the state of Massachusetts that will benefit Indigenous people, and how to support it.
To learn more about land acknowledgements:
We See You White American Theatre: Created by a group of BIPOC theatre makers in reaction to civil unrest in the United States, this is a living document of demands of white theatre makers to combat racism in the theatre industry and make it a more equitable space for all.
Land Acknowledgements: A guide for cultural institutions to make Indigenous land and territorial acknowledgements that recognize and respect Indigenous homelands, inherent sovereignty, and survival.
American Indians in Children’s Literature: Established in 2006 by Dr. Debbie Reese of Nambé Pueblo, American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL) provides critical analysis of Indigenous peoples in children’s and young adult books. This links to a list by Dr. Reese of 30 considerations to make as you are developing a land acknowledgement.
Information on Indigenous theatre makers:
American Theatre: A list of Indigenous theatre-makers and Indigenous-run theatres creating theatre work across North America, including links to their companies’ websites and to production resources for companies and universities. Learn more about the work that they are doing, and consider donating to support it.