LitArts RI is located in the city of Providence, Rhode Island on the ancestral homelands of the Narragansett Nation. We acknowledge that the Narragansett people had their land stolen through settler-colonial violence, including legal injustice, coercion, forced assimilation, ethnic cleansing and genocide, and that they continue to be kept from that land through state-sanctioned violence—actions that have led to continued systemic oppression, impoverishment, and invisibility. We recognize their continued presence as a sovereign nation and millenia-long steward of this land, its waters and all living things.
As a literary organization, uplifting a multiplicity of voices is an integral tenet of our programming and our place in Rhode Island. We celebrate stories as expressions of self, culture and connection, and as catalysts for change. But stories can also be complicit histories, forms of propaganda and tools of supremacy. While occupying and benefiting from the land of the Narragansett peoples—as well as the historical tribal presence of the Nipmuc, Wampanoag and Niantic peoples—we have a responsibility to ensure true stories are told and visibility prevails. Although underserved and underrepresented, Indigenous people from many nations live, work and create in Rhode Island today. Recognizing and amplifying their stories and the vibrant contributions they have made to our culture is part of our work as an organization.
For further understanding of the Narragansett Nation past and present, we encourage you to support and explore the Tomaquag Museum. We invite you to honor and recognize with us the work of Princess Red Wing, Ernest Hazard and The Narragansett Dawn, John Christian Hopkins, Ella (Brown) Sekatau, Paulla Dove Jennings, Lorèn Spears and the many other writers, artists, historians, storytellers, communities and organizations in Rhode Island who have come to this place before us and been doing this work all along.
We understand that our responsibility extends far beyond this basic action and commit to working alongside Rhode Island’s Indigenous communities toward further truth and equity. We share our thoughts and commitments here not as revelation but in recognition of their necessity, and out of our responsibility as a literary organization to question our own story.