2023 NASPA Annual Conference

Indigenous Engagement

"Land does not require that you confirm it exists or that it has been stolen, rather that you reciprocate the care that it has given to you."

Joseph Pierce, Cherokee Nation citizen, associate professor of Latin American and Indigenous Studies, State University of New York at Stonybrook 

If you are joining the 2023 NASPA Annual Conference in person, your presence in this place, now known as Boston, should be coupled with the labor and context of how you came to occupy this place, and your relationship with and to this land. If you are joining the NASPA Virtual Experience, the same work can and should take place with regard to the place where you live and learn. 

We encourage you to situate yourself in this labor, and to know that who you are, in relation to where you are, is a vital cognizance. We invite you to sit with this, so that as you progress in both your professional and personal journey towards knowing, you do not exacerbate harm, and instead build your foundation in humility and empathy.

Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag

The Massachusett Tribal Nation has existed since time immemorial and has a well-documented existence in historic and modern times. It is from our Indigenous nation that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts derives its name.

The Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag descends from the Neponset band of the Massachusett indigenous nation, whose ancestral lands include what is now Boston. The British settlers eventually forced the Neponset band into what was called a self-governing "praying town" of Ponkapoag. The praying town (reservation) was established in 1657 and was one of many established by British settlers across the state of Massachusetts for indigenous Christian converts.

Despite obstacles we have faced historically, our people continue to survive today, and we proudly retain traditions of our ancestors.

Native American communities across the United States traditionally honor and acknowledge the ancestral stewards of the land when we visit and meet with each other. And as the ancestral holders of the land now known as Boston, The Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag invites visitors to learn more about us, and the connection to our ancestral lands in the local area, at our tribal website.


  • Native Land Digital strives to create and foster conversations about the history of colonialism, Indigenous ways of knowing, and settler-Indigenous relations, through educational resources such as our map and Territory Acknowledgement Guide. Visit
  • Meet and learn about the Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag by visiting
  • Learn about the NASPA Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Community and explore the resources members have gathered to increase understanding of, and institutional commitment toward, Indigenous peoples in higher education. Visit

Land Acknowledgment Speaker

Tracy Eastman, Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag Board of Directors

Tracy Eastman is an enrolled member of the Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag, and she serves on the tribe's Board of Directors. Tracy also co-leads the tribe's language reclamation activities. Tracy previously held various senior relationship management and director roles throughout her career at TIAA, where she led key initiatives in support of managing institutional client relationships and providing financial services and retirement plan services to academic, research, medical, and cultural institutions.