CreativeGround is a free service provided by the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA).
At the New England Foundation for the Arts, we believe that a land acknowledgement is a first and necessary step to allyship, reconciliation, and repair. We also believe that it is our responsibility to not perpetuate the erasure of peoples. Therefore, as committed allies and as artists, NEFA acknowledges that the ground on which we work is the land of the Massachuset and Wampanoag peoples.
NEFA also acknowledges the Indigenous lands and people where our distributed staff live and work, and where we provide support and hold events. We honor their ancestors past, present, and future, and recognize their continued existence and contributions to our society, as well as the sacrifices they continue to make.
We also recognize that there is a long history of colonization, displacement, and forced removal on these lands. Many Indigenous peoples have come to this place. There is a connection between displacement and removal and the enslavement of African peoples in order to work this land. We wish to honor all of these people whose hard work and lives were lost in struggles for liberation and decolonization.
CreativeGround is so named because creativity is like the ground, the land – essential, living, boundless.
The grounds across which we work and engage with creatives and cultural entities have history, culture, and ways of knowledge-sharing, creating, and preserving that long precede colonialism. We offer our respect to those who have stewarded the land we now occupy including the following Indigenous nations, as shown on the crowd-sourced map at https://native-land.ca, which is subject to change:
In addition to acknowledging the physical lands that we occupy, we also want to recognize the resources we are consuming by "gathering" in virtual community. These virtual platforms can feel like they are happening outside of any singular place; but Pantheon, the company that manages the technical server for CreativeGround, is headquartered on the lands of the Ramaytush, Ohlone, and Muwekma people, who have resided there for more than 10,000 years. Today, folks in what is now known as San Francisco/Bay area, especially Black, Indigenous, and peoples of color, continue to face displacement as well as labor exploitation, environmental racism, and more at the hands of the tech companies that we rely on. The impact of that industry stretches across all lands, and we feel that it is important to reflect on this as we continue to utilize this infrastructure to connect to one another. Access to these services, which have become more and more essential, remains inequitable and unattainable for many Indigenous communities.
Land acknowledgement is only a first step in showing respect to the history of a place. We are all indebted to the Indigenous people of what is now known as New England and we give thanks as guests on the land.
We encourage you to familiarize yourself with not only the names of the Indigenous nations where you live, work, and play, but to learn more about how the names are tied to the land – their meanings, like “People of the Small Point” reflect the deep connection to the local nature and our reliance on it. And as you look around at the street names and place names in your community, consider investigating the meanings of those words – so many of them in Indigenous languages that have been ignored. Indigenous peoples are still here. Was the convention of using Indigenous words to name places a way for colonizers to make a visible acknowledgment, but deny the continued existence of Indigenous people and the continued racism they face(d)?
We have a responsibility to understand the past and present traumas related to these painful histories, and to ensure that this understanding undergirds our work. We also affirm that this acknowledgement is insufficient; it does not undo the harm that has been done and continues to be perpetrated now against Indigenous people and their land.
This process requires constant learning and as we (NEFA) learn more, it will be reflected in revisions of our land acknowledgement, as well as other direct actions to support the Indigenous people of our community.
We are indebted to many in the creation of these statements and actions:
This is an ongoing conversation – one that we commit to continue in partnership with the Indigenous Community of what is now called New England. Please reach out with suggestions, questions or comments.