FRAMINGHAM, MA -- MassBay Community College, which has campuses in Ashland, Framingham and Wellesley, Massachusetts, has formally recognized that the land the campuses are built on were "appropriated" from local Native American tribes.
A statement on the college's website reads, "Massachusetts Bay Community College wishes to acknowledge that the Wellesley, Framingham, and Ashland campuses sit on land that was appropriated by the US Federal government from the Nipmuc, Massa-adchu-es-et (Massachusetts) and Pawtucket tribes." and goes on to say, "MassBay cannot change the past but what we can do is honor the land, the ancestors, and the indigenous traditions as we at MassBay use this sacred land as a communal place to nurture learners to move forward and make a more inclusive world."
MassBay is believed to be the first community college in Massachusetts to make this public acknowledgement with a permanent marker and a ceremony of reconciliation and healing. During the ceremony the College announced an Indigenous People Scholarship had been formed for current and future MassBay students, for which fundraising has begun.
“Today Indigenous people became VISIBLE,” said Chief Ladybug (Croatan) Native Heritage New England and Program Chair for Health Studies at MassBay. “As a Massachusetts indigenous person today's land acknowledgement that MassBay Community College campuses sits on land that belongs to the Nipmuc, Pawtucket, and Massachusetts tribes was historic for me, my family, and my tribe. Acknowledgment is the first steps to our tribal healing.”
Nine tribes were present at today's gathering, including: Croatan, Ponkapoag, Mi’kmaq, Mohawk, Cherokee, Blackfoot, Wampanoag, Natick Praying Indians, and the Nipmuc. Chief Black Wolf of the Nipmuc, Chief Eagle Rising (Mi’kmaq) from the Great Lowell Indian Cultural Association, and 8-year-old Sophia Wise Owl (Ponkapoag) all spoke at the ceremony of gratitude for this acknowledgement.
“We are proud to hold this important ceremony and to give proper recognition of the land on which our college sits,” said MassBay President David Podell.“ As our plaque reads, we cannot change the past. But what we can do and will do is to is honor the land, the ancestors, and the indigenous traditions as we at MassBay use this sacred land as a communal place to nurture learners to move forward and make a more inclusive world.”
Chief Caring Hands of the Natick Praying Indians summed up the Ceremony by saying, “I leave you with a truth, ‘A people honor themselves when they honor its original people’”.
To donate to the MassBay Indigenous People Scholarship Fund, visit: www.massbay.edu/give then under the heading; "I want to support", select "Indigenous Peoples Scholarship" from the dropdown menu.
Source: MassBay Press Release