I Own This Stolen Land
"Everything in US history is about the land… who invaded and stole it; how it became a commodity…" - Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States.
"The objective for Native people is to heal. The objective for non-Native people is to come out of denial" - Faith Spotted Eagle (Dakota)
I Own This Stolen Land uses text-sculptures, photographs, video interviews, performance, and social practice. Based on 38 acres of rural land in Tompkins County, NY, the work aims to repair Indigenous/settler relations and exemplify care in land stewardship.
The project explores the meanings of owning land when the title to it originates in settler-colonial genocide. What are my responsibilities? What are the threats to and stresses on the land? Why did settler agriculture fail? Working with and supporting Gayogohó:nǫˀ (Cayuga) people, the Indigenous former inhabitants, the project provides land access for reconnection and traditional and arts activities, as a basis for an eventual return home.
The hope is to provide attractive models of collaboration and co-existence for other landowners and town administrations.
I Own This Stolen Land is made possible in part with an Artist Support grant from the New York State Council on the Arts and with funds from the Statewide Community Regrants program from the New York State Council on the Arts and from Tompkins County; administered by the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County, with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. The work is also funded in part by a Project Support Grant from The Center for Photographic Art, Carmel, CA. It is a fiscally sponsored project by the New York Foundation for the Arts.