Our studio sits on the land of the
Susquehannock (Conestoga), and others.
Pittsburgh sits on land previously occupied for thousands of years by Native peoples, in a region the
Onödowáʼga: referred to as
Dionde:gâ. Their history can be glimpsed by taking a look at the names of our rivers, towns, and geological features.
In addition to the nations listed above, other nations called the area home as they were displaced from their ancestral lands. These include the
Lenni Lenape (Delaware),
Eriechronon (Erie), and others.
We do our best to offer our respect to those who lived on this land before us, and to repay them for what was taken. You can read more about that here.
Let's revisit the description of our location above, with special attention to the languages of Native peoples:
near the confluence of the
Ohiorivers, nestled in the
AppalachianPlateau, just west of the
AlleghenyMountains, on the western side of the
near the confluence of the
Monongahela means "
falling banks", in reference to the geological instability of the river's banks.
river" (in compounds)).
ohiːyo', meaning "
good river", "
great river", or "
nestled in the
Apalachee is a
Muskogean language, related to languages like
Chahta Anumpa (Choctaw) and
Muskogee (Creek). The
Appalachian place-name was recorded during the Narváez Expedition's encounter in 1528 with the
Tocobaga, who spoke of a country named
Apalachen far to the north.
The three rivers of Pittsburgh are still the life-blood of the Western Pennsylvania region, the same way they were for the Native peoples living near them. We support multiple organizations taking care of the land we call home, but the Western Pennsylvania Conservacy in particular is taking take of the watershed that we drink from.
These Native languages, a critical part of the history of our land, are dying. Please consider researching the Native peoples from your area. They may have a language preservation or language revitalization program that is in need of your assistance.
Here's a great example from the
Delaware Tribe of Indians: the
Lenape Talking Dictionary.
It's not just the languages that matter. The people matter the most. People growing up and living on reservations today are impacted by generations of trauma, and face a staggering amount of hardships. If you can, consider reaching out to the Native nations from your area - either presently or historically. Or consider a donation to a group like the Center for Native American Youth.
Land acknowledgement is a way to offer respect to the Native people whose ancestors lived where you are. But it's not the only way, and by itself, it is not enough to help right our nation's wrongs. The Native Governance Center has a great article on moving Beyond Land Acknowledgement and on to more concrete ways to support Native communities. You can read about our efforts to do so here.