Honoring The Land
The land upon which we gather is the homeland of the Lenape people.
In The Grandfathers Speak: Native American Folk Tales of the Lenapé People, Lenape Nation chief and scholar Hìtakonanu’laxk explains that the Lenape “concept of land is that it is not a thing to be possessed, but rather something sacred and alive. We have a saying, ‘We do not own the land, we are of the land, we belong to it.’”
Many Lenape were forcibly removed west and north by Europeans settler-colonists starting in the 1600s. However, in addition to individuals of Native American heritage, there are state recognized tribal communities that continue to endure in this the region: The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation; the Ramapough Lenape Nation; and the Powhatan Renape Nation, the Nanticoke of Millsboro Deleware, and the Lenape of Cheswold Delaware.
It is with deep appreciation and humility that we at McCarter honor the legacy of the original storytellers and art makers of this region. We acknowledge that our presence is a product of historic and ongoing colonialism. We encourage you to join us in learning more about the indigenous peoples of your homelands, in disrupting the ongoing harm of colonization, and in beginning to actively restore relationships with the people who belong to this land and the land itself.
Why do we honor the land?
Our mission, opportunity, and privilege as an arts and culture institution is to embrace and share the stories and perspectives of all, and to champion a more equitable, diverse, inclusive, and accessible future.
By engaging in this intentional practice, we aim to disrupt the erasure of the Indigenous people in our communities and invite more truth of the history of this land. We do this out of respect for the Indigenous peoples and their traditions, as well as an appreciation of their history and the acknowledgement that predominately white institutions such as McCarter have benefited from colonization and its effects. We invite you to join us in this act of mindfulness and encourage you to unite your learning journey with ours.
How will we continue to support Indigenous communities and culture?
This land acknowledgement is just one component of our work as we aim to go beyond allyship and establish meaningful and long-lasting relationships. Our new artistic leadership is currently cultivating relationships with the intention of supporting and sharing more Indigenous art on our stages and in our spaces. We hope to work more closely with the known tribes of our local area: the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation; the Ramapough Lenape Nation; the Powhatan Renape Nation, The Nanticoke of Millsboro Delaware and the Lenape of Cheswold Delaware.