Land Acknowledgment calls us to reflect on the devastating impacts of European colonization on Indigenous and Native American people, and land, for over four hundred years. Amplifying Native American voices means honoring that Indigenous and Native people are still here, still fighting for sovereignty, and still healing from generational traumas. Land Acknowledgment is a first step in the pursuit of reparative work with Indigenous peoples in our organizing and theatre communities that recognizes the ongoing advancement of Native cultures.

One way we honor Indigenous and Native American people is by recognizing the land we occupy by the names of the tribes and nations who have ancestrally stewarded this land for thousands of years prior to colonization. Equity serves our members from four offices:

1. Our New York office occupies Lenape land. The Lenape (also called Munsee Lenape and the Delaware) were among the first Native American people to face massacres by European colonizers, catastrophic diseases, and forced removal. Displaced from their ancestral lands, they now have communities in the midwestern U.S. and Canada. The Lenape people originally stewarded land stretching from Western Connecticut, Eastern Pennsylvania, the Hudson Valley, and Delaware, with Manhattan in the center. The Lenape People call this land they have ancestrally stewarded Lenapehoking.

2. Our Orlando office occupies Seminole land. The Seminole have stewarded land throughout the southeastern region of North America for thousands of years and continue their traditions as a sovereign government, now based in Florida. Invaded by Spanish colonizers, the Seminole people gathered across state borders, established by colonizers, including Georgia, Florida, and Alabama, to protect their people and provide refuge to enslaved people Indigenous to Africa, North, Central, and South America.

3. Our Chicago office occupies land ancestrally stewarded by Bodwéwadmi (Potawatomi), Peoria, Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo), Kaskaskia, and Myaamia people[RJ1] [WS2] . Chicago has become home to the third largest urban Native American population in the US with over 100 tribal nations represented. Today, the American Indian Center serves the Native American communities residing in metropolitan Chicago by cultivating economic advancement, sustaining Native American culture, art, and advocation.

4. Our Los Angeles office occupies land ancestrally stewarded by Chumash and Tongva (Gabrieleno) peoples. The Chumash people ancestrally stewarded land spanning across 7,000 square miles of southern and central California. The Spanish spread fatal diseases as colonization caused the death of approximately 20,000 Chumash people. The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians will be opening the Museum & Cultural Center in 2023, which will advance environmental stewardship and sustain ancestral culture. The Tongva people experienced parallel acts of devastation by Spanish and settler colonizers and continue to fight for land sovereignty rights from the “18 lost treaties” agreed to with the United States government, which was forcibly displacing the Tongva people.

Further resources:

  • To learn more about land acknowledgements and how to compose one, click here.
  • To learn which native nations originally lived on which land, click here.
  • Find essays and other resources on Indigenous theatre here.
  • For a list of guides and informational flyers on non-Native allyship and Native representation in entertainment, click here.
  • To access a video of Indigenous and Native American people discussing what Land Acknowledgments mean and what their purpose is, click here.