My reflection on my surroundings:
To acknowledge the land is not a new practice for Native peoples. However, I recognize that, while my ancestors may be indigenous to certain lands as well (as are the ancestors of all others), I am not a member of any nation indigenous to what is now commonly known as the United States of America. Even so, I wish to give thanks to the land and its original people, so that I may also seek to offer something to both as a person, artist, and activist.
I am currently residing and working on land inhabited, cared for, and cultivated by the Mohawk Nation (Kanienʼkehá:ka), one of six nations within the Haudenosaunee confederacy. This place, now referred to as the town of Potsdam, NY, was likely once recognized as territory of the settlement Ahkwesáhsne. I am grateful for the stewardship and care by those who have come before as well as those presently among the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe.
I am grateful for the land itself, the waters of the Raquette River (Ahná:wate), and the animals and plants that propagate the region (even the deer, with their courage and speed!). It is with their generosity that people of all nations have been able to make homes and lives here, thus I seek to acknowledge the contributions of all that I’ve mentioned as well as all that I have not.
May we continue to acknowledge the land, its people, and the stories of both, as threads woven into the same tapestry of mystery and understanding that is our existence in this world, the one before, and the one to come.
Michael R. Dudley Jr.
Below are photographs I have taken during my time and travels across the nearby mountains, streams, and farms. I hope these photos inspire you to go out into the natural world and experience all the wonder it has to offer, in addition to learning more about the surrounding communities, peoples (both two-legged and four-legged), and plants. You can learn more about the land in which you live here.