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Why Do We Recognize the Land?
Land acknowledgements do not exist in the “past tense.” Colonialism still exists today in various forms. Indigenous history is still taught incorrectly at several schools across the United States (if taught at all), Indigenous dispossession of lands and waters, relationships, and political authority persists, and more (Midzain-Gobin & Smith 2023). It is therefore necessary to understand the history that has brought oneself to reside on this land and understand one’s place within that history. It is also important to express one’s gratitude, appreciation and respect toward the people whose territory on which one resides to honor Indigenous communities and disrupt false narratives around the history of this land (Know the Land).
We, the committee members, staff, participants and families, of Youth Enrichment Services, and our collaborative stakeholders recreate on the traditional and ancestral lands of the Massachusett people. We recognize that YES’ outdoor programs and activities also occupy the land of neighboring tribes; Nipmuc, Mohican, Mashpee Wampanoag, Aquinnah Wampanoag, Pawtucket (Penacook), Wabanaki, and pay respects to elders both past and present. This acknowledgement aims to recognize and respect indigenous people as the traditional stewards of this land and the enduring relationship that exits between indigenous people and their traditional territories.
We acknowledge the centuries of hardships of forced removal, genocide, cultural assimilation, and ethnic cleansing indigenous people faced as direct result of colonialism. Today, the Massachusett, Nipmuc, Wampanoag, and Mohican people work to reclaim their culture, and pass forward their ancestral traditions to the next generations to come.
As a youth development organization that believes strongly in giving youth access to the outdoors, YES is committed to educating our community about the history of the lands on which we currently reside, visit, and recreate. We commit to working to stand in solidarity with native people and dismantle the ongoing legacies of settler colonialism.
Youth Enrichment Services (YES) recognizes that our outdoor programs and activities occur on the lands of indigenous tribes. We aim to respect indigenous peoples as the traditional stewards of these lands.
As a youth development organization providing underserved youth access to the outdoors, YES is committed to educating our community about the history of the lands on which we reside and explore. We acknowledge the centuries of hardships indigenous peoples have faced, and therefore we stand in solidarity with native peoples in dismantling ongoing colonialist legacies.
If you are interested in learning about the lands on which YES operates its programs, we invite you to read more at www.yeskids.org/landacknowledgement
How YES is Supporting Native People
- Partnering with IPDN for SnowSports trip
- Participation in the IPDN Indigenous Peoples day
Land Acknowledgements 101
Know the Land
To learn more about the traditional and ancestral lands of the Massachusett people and neighboring tribes, please visit the websites below.
Massachusett Tribe: https://massachusetttribe.org
Mashpee Wampanoag: https://mashpeewampanoagtribe-nsn.gov
Aquinnah Wampanoag: https://wampanoagtribe-nsn.gov
Note: While extensive research, conversation, and thought was involved in collecting and presenting this information, YES staff are not experts on these topics. We believe in the importance of continuous learning and welcome any additional information, conversation, or questions from individuals who would like to share with us.
How was the statement created?
The specific wording in YES’ land acknowledgement statement is the result of an intentional, collaborative process of research, reading, and writing completed by YES staff members.
How can I use it?
The YES land acknowledgement statement can be read aloud before events, programs, and more.
Whose land are we on?
YES’ office is located on the land of the Pawtucket and the Massachusett Tribe.
YES’ Swann Lodge is located on the land of the Mohicans.
Any other locations we want to highlight? Moakley park, ski mountains, etc.?
Additional Resources & Ways to be Actionable
To learn more about how you can support Native Americans, deepen your understanding of Native communities, discover information about Indigenous Peoples Day in Newton, MA, or determine the history of the land you are standing on, visit the resources below.
Know the land. Laurier Students’ Public Interest Research Group. (n.d.). http://www.lspirg.org/knowtheland
Midzain-Gobin, L., & Smith, H. (2023, July 18). Not in the past: Colonialism is rooted in the present. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/not-in-the-past-colonialism-is-rooted-in-the-present-157395