Land Acknowledgement

We, Flat Earth Theatre, acknowledge that we make art on stolen land. We occupy part of the ancestral territory of the Pequossette Band of the Massachusett people: Pigsgusset, which we know as Watertown. The Massachusett are past, present, and future stewards of this land.

What is a land acknowledgement?

Part of our mission as a theater company is to challenge the worldviews of both ourselves and our audiences. Land acknowledgement does not right any of the myriad wrongs committed against Native/Indigenous/First Nations peoples. It does challenge us to learn, to think, and to act.

It's not about making space, it's about giving back space. And then, it's about moving toward a reciprocal relationship, which is uncharted territory.

Cynthia Lickers-Sage, Mohawk visual artist

A tribal land acknowledgement, sometimes called a territory acknowledgement, is a formal statement that recognizes and respects Indigenous peoples as traditional stewards of this land and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous peoples and their traditional territories.

To acknowledge the traditional territory is to recognize its longer history, reaching beyond colonization and the establishment of European colonies, as well as its significance for the Indigenous peoples who lived and continue to live upon this territory, and whose practices and spiritualities were tied to the land and continue to develop in relationship to the land and its other inhabitants today.

University of Alberta

Learn, Think, and Act!

We, the Company Members of Flat Earth Theatre, invite you to join us in taking steps towards un-erasing and honoring the original stewards of the land on which you live and work (in our cases, the Massachusett, Pawtucket, and Wampanoag peoples). We all have a long way to go, but here are some places to start. We can:

  • Educate ourselves about Native peoples' past and present—they are still here!

  • Listen to, and amplify, Native voices. (One simple way to begin this process is to follow Indigenous artists and activists on social media.)

  • Increase our awareness of the history of the land itself, and our place within that history, both communally and individually.

  • Be mindful of our participation in the continued colonization of this land.

  • Commit to continued learning, and acknowledging past mistakes. Feeling guilty is a natural response, but it doesn't fix or change anything. Once we know better, we do better.

  • Learn how to become better stewards of the land we inhabit and of its resources.

  • Explore and confront our role as theater artists and audiences in the omission and erasure of Native art and artists.

Spelling and Pronunciation

The forced erasure of Indigenous languages is one of the many harms inflicted by colonialism. It is important to learn the correct pronunciations of Native names rather than dismissing them as too hard to say. To that end, Pequossette is pronounced “Peh-KWAH-set.”

It is also worth noting that because these are not English names, and Native people are not a monolith, spellings in English may vary. “Massachusett” is most commonly spelled with two t's, though you may see it with one. “Pigsgusset” is spelled and pronounced “Pigsqusset” by some people.

Further Reading and Resources

Note: this list is deliberately focused on the Watertown/Boston area, and on organizations that support Native artists. If you live outside this area, feel free to use this list as a starting point, but do look for local information and resources of your own.

Land acknowledgement and related resources were compiled by Kristen Heider .