It is with gratitude and humility that Jacob’s Pillow acknowledges that we are learning, speaking, and gathering on the ancestral homelands of the Muh-he-con-ne-ok or Mohican people, who are the Indigenous peoples of this land. Despite tremendous hardship in being forced from here, today they reside in Wisconsin and are known as the Stockbridge-Munsee Community. We pay honor and respect to their ancestors and elders past and present as we commit to building a more inclusive and equitable space for all.
As a cultural home serving the area now known as the Berkshires, we also pay our respects to the Indigenous people who continue to live in this region and exercise sovereignty: the Nipmuc to the East; the Wampanoag and Narragansett to the Southeast; the Agawam, Mohegan, Pequot, and Schaghticoke to the South; and the Abenaki to the North.
We believe it is the role of the arts to make the invisible visible. After centuries of erasure, we the stewards of Jacob’s Pillow hold the responsibility to recognize the Indigenous peoples and the land that gives Jacob’s Pillow its quintessential identity. As allies, this acknowledgement is only part of our commitment to building relationships with Indigenous artists from around the country and the world and communities who still reside in our region.
Resources & Ways to Become Involved
We invite you to learn more about the Indigenous history of our region:
“Mohican Miles” Exhibition at the Mission House Museum – Stockbridge, MA
This exhibit, by the Stockbridge–Munsee Community’s Cultural Affairs Department in collaboration with the Trustees of Reservations, covers a wide range of topics, spanning from the history of the Tribe, to the current work of the Historic Preservation Office. “Mohican Miles.”
The Ohketeau Cultural Center
Ohketeau is fittingly named for the Nipmuc wording meaning a place to plant and grow. They offer extensive academic and creative resources on their website pertaining to indigenous knowledge, experience, and culture, including their Living Presence of Our History series. Their mission is in support of interdisciplinary and reciprocal education, and providing an enriching, safe, creative community for the Indigenous people of this region. Visit their Take Action page to learn how to become involved.
Visit the app below to find out about the Indigenous history of where you live:
Indigenous Programming – Festival 2023
Permanent Installation: Homesite by Andre Strongbearheart Gaines, Jr. at Jacob’s Garden
In 2022, the Pillow commissioned Andre Strongbearheart Gaines, Jr. to create a traditional Nipmuc homesite, including a mishoon-burning installation at our main entrance that was activated at multiple events during the 90th Anniversary Festival. The homesite has now been permanently relocated to Jacob’s Garden where it continues to be accessible to the public.
Te Ao Mana | June 29, 2023
Te Ao Mana expands the presence of Indigenous Polynesian culture worldwide through creative projects, dance classes, workshops, and community gathering and sharing. The dance company began in New York City among a group of friends with a passion for the cultural arts of the Polynesian Islands. Led by directors Anthony Aiu and Kaina Quenga—lifelong practitioners of Hula and Ori Tahiti—the intergenerational group shares an appreciation of Mana, “the heart of Polynesia and the very genesis of everything in existence,” and to identify more deeply with nature and each other, “living in a place of constant creation and discovery of oneself and one’s connection to the natural world.” Tickets to this performance are Choose What You Pay, with a suggested ticket price of $35.
Danza Orgánica with Members of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe | August 16, 2023
Âs Nupumukômun (We Still Dance) is a theatrical composition created in close collaboration between Danza Orgánica and members of the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe. Adhering to Indigenous storytelling, dance, song, and installation, Âs Nupumukômun explores what it means to be Native today by highlighting traditional and contemporary stories of the Aquinnah Wampanoag People. This collaboration, which started in Winter 2018, was made possible through a partnership between the Aquinnah Cultural Center, The Yard, and Danza Orgánica. Tickets to this performance are Choose What You Pay, with a suggested ticket price of $35.
A percentage of the proceeds of Jacob’s Pillow’s Season Opening Gala on June 24, 2023, is being contributed to Ohketeau Cultural Center in Ashfield, MA.