As part of the Network’s ongoing work around Indigenous peoples’ advocacy, the Indigenous Peoples’ Advocacy Committee (IPAC) has worked to craft and adopt an Indigenous land acknowledgement statement to be read at the beginning of Network programs. The Select Board has also crafted a statement to be read at the beginning of their meetings.
According to language on the Winchester Select Board website, “A land acknowledgement is a statement, read aloud at the beginning of a program, meeting or public event, which recognizes, respects and affirms the deep and enduring relationship between Indigenous People and their traditional lands or territories. Acknowledgements also raise awareness about Indigenous histories, perspectives and experiences that have either been suppressed or forgotten. A land acknowledgement is more than just a historic statement that belongs in the past. Reading a land acknowledgement enables us to honor and elevate Native groups’ connection to the land we currently reside on, and their present-day participation in society. A land acknowledgement begins with a statement and should be coupled with ongoing efforts to build and sustain authentic relationships with Indigenous communities and informed collective action.”
Below is the Network’s land acknowledgement. The land acknowledgement adopted by the Select Board can be found here.
As part of the Network for Social Justice’s mission to foster a movement for systemic change to advance equity and inclusion in Winchester and beyond, we would like to acknowledge that we are holding this meeting on the ancestral homeland of the Massachusett people, who
lived here for thousands of years before European colonists began arriving about 1630.
In the 1600s, the Massachusett were led by a female Sachem, or leader, who was called “Squaw Sachem” by the colonists, whose people endured epidemics, wars, and displacement. We acknowledge that Winchester exists within a region where lands were taken under unjust and violent circumstances, causing a forced relocation that continues to have harmful effects on Indigenous communities.
As the Network for Social Justice, we recognize our ongoing responsibility to educate and raise awareness about historical struggles, elevate resistance, and activate around contemporary challenges of Native peoples.
And we acknowledge that Massachusett, Wampanoag, and other Indigenous people from across the country currently live in Winchester and throughout the state and contribute to our community in myriad ways.