Whose Land Is it?
At Basecamp, our neighbors take many forms; from the century-old wisdom of the Eastern White Pines to the collective memory of the Meadow Grasses, we share this space with countless beings, human and non-human alike. Here, we seek to nurture respectful curiosity and maintain the mystery of all living creatures residing on or visiting this land.
Though Basecamp’s story is only beginning, there are stories here - some older than recorded time - woven into the energetic fabric of the Earth. For that, we honor and celebrate the cultural resiliency of the original stewards of this land: centrally and predominantly, the Elnu Abenaki peoples; regionally, the Wabanaki peoples; as well as neighbors of Pennacook and Pocumtuc lineage to the east and south, respectively.
We cannot work to restore relations with our human and non-human neighbors without deeply understanding the ways in which we, as property ‘owners’, benefit from the systems that cause intergenerational harm. The property of Basecamp at Beaver Falls exists as a direct result of colonization, governmental theft, and the systemic abuse of power. We encourage all visitors to reflect on their relations to land, people, and history of the places they recreate; and we thank those who are actively engaged in the discomfort of knowing.
What is a "Working Land Acknowledgment"?
As an organization that was not founded by - or in collaboration with - Indigenous voices, our efforts of solidarity and storytelling will always only ever be a one-sided take on our relationship with the original stewards of the land. Because we are still working on bettering our internal systems around Indigenous-informed DEI, we have not yet connected with our local Indigenous community (the Elnu Abenaki people) regarding the co-collaboration of an official Land Acknowledgment (though we work with them in other ways - see below).
Co-Collaboration of any project takes time - we are not willing to jeopardize our trust-building for a premature verbal statement of solidarity. When our organization is better educated and less likely to cause harm, we will see what gifts right relations brings.
Our Land Acknowledgment will remain a living, working statement, similar to the ways in which our relationship building with the Elnu Abenaki people will continue to live, grow and redefine itself. This is our effort to maintain an honest, consent-based dialogue with both the Elnu Abenaki people and the non-Indigenous visitors who find health and healing at the Basecamp property. Thank you for respecting that relationship and trust-building cannot be rushed.
What are The Venture Out Project and Basecamp at Beaver Falls Doing?
For those interested in learning more about TVOP and BCBF's plans of sustainability, land care, and Indigenous-voice inclusion, you can find a non-exhaustive list below. Please know this list is constantly evolving.
We're working to replace introduced and invasive plant species around the 40 acres with native pollinator plants - this includes the nurturing of a new Learning Garden for guests to immerse in. By correcting plant-related harm, we hope to create a highway for Native Pollinators to return to Basecamp - bringing with them healthier flowers, juicers berries, and greener green spaces!
For many years, TVOP has divested funds from day hikes and events to reinvest in the Indigenous communities whose land they are able to recreate on.
Each year we're growing the ways in which we include indigenous voices, perspectives, and teachings in our internal staff & instructor education. Frequently this means hiring Indigenous educators to join us at BCBF - we are excited to grow this area of our professional development.
Our Neighbors - the Atowi Project
We have been fortunate enough to connect with the Atowi Project, "an Elnu Abenaki community initiative to affirm Native relationships to the Land and its inhabitants, raise Indigenous voices, and foster inclusion with understanding, in place."
We greatly admire, support, and elevate the work of the Atowi Project and its initiatives - you can follow them online at www.atowi.org and on Instagram, @atowiproject.
We encourage anyone who visits us at Basecamp to consider learning about and/or donating to the local Elnu Abenaki community via the Atowi Project. You can count on us to do the same.