In full transparency, the following is a press release from MassBay submitted to SOURCE media for publication.
Editor’s Note: The report has been updated to fix a typo in the press release.
WELLESLEY – MassBay Community College unveiled a permanent Land Acknowledgement plaque in a ceremony attended by Chiefs of three native tribes on Wednesday, September 14, 2022.
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’.”
Donations to the MassBay Indigenous People Scholarship Fund can be made by visiting www.massbay.edu/give, using the dropdown menu.
MassBay Community College Land Acknowledgement Ceremony held on September 14, 2022. (Photo/MassBay Community College).
MassBay Community College is the most affordable higher education option in MetroWest Boston, offering a robust portfolio of courses and more than 70 associate degree and certificate programs with flexible day, evening, and weekend classes in Ashland, Framingham, Wellesley Hills, and online. MassBay students receive an unmatched educational value by earning stackable credits that transfer to bachelor’s degree programs, and workforce-ready skills necessary to advance careers in high-demand fields such as health and life sciences, automotive technology, engineering, business, cybersecurity, and the humanities.