As an arts space within a higher education institution, the Norton Center is committed to representing diverse experiences through exhibits, performances and other engaging programs. However, we recognize that we must do more to impact real change not only on our campus, but in our field at large.
STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY
At Centre College’s Norton Center for the Arts, we mourn the deaths of people who have suffered at the hands of systemic racism and police brutality. To those across the country who have bravely raised their voices against these injustices: We hear you. We see you. We are with you. We know Black Lives Matter.
As we navigate the path ahead with help from friends, neighbors, collaborators, supporters, artists, students, and Centre College colleagues, we will work to locate and examine the ways in which the arts industry is part of the narrative of racial oppression and what we should do to connect with audiences that better reflect our community. We pledge to be more intentional as we continue to use Norton Center spaces and platforms to lift the voices of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) and other marginalized groups.
And, finally, we are committed to educating ourselves so we can scrutinize how systemic racism impacts our work at the Norton Center. As our first point of action, we will work to develop a Cultural Equity Plan to actively address the objectives listed above and will keep pathways open for building on this foundation as we move forward.
The Norton Center staff encourages you to join us in making a meaningful commitment to battle systemic racism in our field, on our campus, and in our country. To our supporters who have been with us, we look forward to continuing to engage with you through our programs. And, to those who may be new to the Norton Center, we welcome you. If you have thoughts, suggestions, or feedback on how we can move forward, please reach out. We are listening.
Today, the Norton Center at Centre College sits on the ancestral lands of the Cherokee, Shawanwaki/Shawnee, Yuchi, Adena, and Hopewell nations. According to the Kentucky Native American Heritage Commission’s review of the 2010 United States census, over 170 American Indian tribes are represented by members who live and work in the Commonwealth. This is in addition to many others of Indigenous descent not represented in the census data. We would like to take this moment to remember those who have been forcibly displaced from their territories, and we ask that you join us in acknowledging that Indigenous culture is a living culture that thrives across the region and the continent at large. Here at the Norton Center, we strive to be a space where people can appreciate the arts and the stories that artists tell through their crafts. When you leave here today, we encourage you to seek out opportunities to engage with the work of contemporary Native American artists and to explore how to support their creative efforts. For resources that can help you get started, visit our website.
This land acknowledgement was written by Norton Center staff with final review and consultation by Helen Danser. Ms. Danser, of Cherokee descent, represented Native American concerns to the Humanitarium in Lexington, KY, and presented Native American culture at the Lexington Children’s Museum. Since 2008, she has served as an appointed member of the Kentucky Native American Heritage Commission, where she currently is the Chair. In 2019 she was elected Treasurer of the Governors Interstate Indian Council. Ms. Danser has helped numerous Kentucky organizations regarding Native American needs including consulting on the creation of land acknowledgements.
The land acknowledgement was first presented at the Norton Center CULTURE + GIVING THANKS program on Thursday, November 19, 2020.