At CCA, we understand Land Acknowledgment as a transformative act meant to confront our place on Native Lands and to build mindfulness of our present participation in colonial legacies. As CCA faculty, staff, and students, we affirm our responsibility to amplify Indigenous voices, we stand in solidarity with local Indigenous communities, and we respect local Indigenous protocol. We practice Land Acknowledgment at CCA in order to teach and promote greater public consciousness of Native sovereignty and cultural rights.
California College of the Arts campuses are located in Huichin and Yelamu, also known as Oakland and San Francisco, on the unceded territories of Chochenyo and Ramaytush Ohlone peoples, who have continuously lived upon this land since time immemorial. We recognize the historic discrimination and violence inflicted upon Indigenous peoples in California and the Americas, including their forced removal from ancestral lands, and the deliberate and systematic destruction of their communities and culture. CCA has a responsibility to oppose all forms of individual and institutionalized racism toward all people but especially toward Indigenous peoples within the arts, fields in which discrimination has occurred through the omission and silencing of Indigenous voices. CCA is committed to the inherent academic and creative activism required to foster a culture that acknowledges these harms, shows empathy and care, and demonstrates positive steps toward reconciliation and repair.
CCA values Indigenous technology, thought, and culture, and respectfully strives to reflect this in organizational practices and pedagogy. We embrace our position as an educational community that is being called to collectively learn how to address settler colonial legacies in the Bay Area and to build authentic relationships in community with Indigenous culture-bearers. CCA honors Indigenous peoples—past, present, and future—here and around the world, and we wish to pay respect to local elders.
We recognize the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, who are campaigning to become federally recognized; the Association of Ramaytush Ohlone, who are researching, revitalizing, and preserving Ramaytush Ohlone history and culture; and the Confederated Villages of Lisjan and Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, who are working to return Native land back to Indigenous stewardship. We are actively seeking to learn more about California Native art, design, architecture, and writing, and to make Indigenous lifeways integral to our pedagogy, as a way to demonstrate our roles as community members and stewards of the lands we’re on.
CCA has proceeded with compliance, curiosity, and intentionality regarding archaeological testing pursued in anticipation of expanding and unifying our campuses and becoming a residential college. We recognize that the cultural heritage of California begins no less than 15,000 years ago and that the entire Bay Area rests on evidence of Indigenous cultures. We know that our San Francisco campus occupies a site of living, learning, and making reaching back at least 7,500 years. Acknowledging this fact builds mindfulness toward the social and earth justice work we do at CCA, and that which is yet to be done. We accept our communal responsibility as stewards of the land and to restore the rights of nature through our pedagogy as well as through operational and organizational practices that foreground environmental sustainability as a core value.
The pre-contact Indigenous population in California was one of the largest and most diverse in the western hemisphere and spoke over 300 Native American dialects and as many as 90 languages. Today there are approximately nine Indigenous dialects spoken in the Bay Area and California is home to more people of Native American and Alaskan Native heritage than any other state in the country. There are currently over 100 federally recognized Native American tribes in California and even more communities and tribal groups, including the Ohlone, who are not currently federally recognized. California has the highest Native American population in the country, and Los Angeles and San Francisco have two of the largest urban Native American populations in the United States.
Land Acknowledgment by itself is a small gesture. It becomes meaningful when coupled with authentic relationships and informed actions.
In order to recognize and commemorate the contribution of Indigenous peoples to the United States and to condemn the atrocities that were committed against them, CCA supports the City of San Francisco’s decision to recognize Columbus Day (second Monday of October) as Indigenous Peoples' Day, and we also respect those in our community who observe Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday of November) as a National Day of Mourning. All official CCA communications, notices, calendars, and other publications, whether electronic or paper, shall reflect these conscious changes.
This Land Acknowledgment does not represent or intend to represent the official or legal standing or boundaries of any Indigenous nations. This Land Acknowledgment is a living document written by faculty members of the CCA Decolonial School, in consultation with Indigenous community members. If you have questions or feedback, please contact [email protected].