Professional artists and longtime colleagues Jared Williams and Nuria Bowart had been working for many years in the performance and dance fields.
Williams, co founder of the Lion's Jaw Festival, and Bowart, Bay area-based martial artist and movement teacher, had spoken of their shared desire to open a center for nearly a decade.
They imagined a space where performance and dance artists could be supported in both their studio practices and their teaching in new and robust ways.
In February of 2021, motivated in part by the pandemic and its impact on the arts ecology, Nuria and Jared purchased a vacant 12-bedroom country Inn in Rockingham, Vermont/ Kitchee Pontegu [unceded sokoki abenaki + pannacock territories ]. Sitting on nearly 50 acres of forest and pasture, the property currently consists of a 10k square foot main building, a smaller building built to house up to 3 people, as well as a small pond and substantial river frontage.
Throughout the summer of 2021 an instrumental group of volunteers helped us renovate the space and lay grounds for future programming. We are especially grateful to our dedicated summer 2021 staff Sydney Lemelin, Anya Smolnikova, Rachel Saudek, Simon Thomas-Train, Justis Hatch, Lindsey Jennings, and Liesje Smith for all their love and time.
The Field Center is located in what is now known as Rockingham/Bellows Falls Vermont near the village of Bellows Falls/ Kitchee Pontegu [Sokoki-Abenaki Band + Pannacock territories] also known as Wantastegok, the Place of the River Where Things Are Lost
It is home to 50 acres of forest rising up from the banks of the Williams River and is used by bobcat, coyote, bear, moose, frog, deer, rabbit, fox, turkey, porcupine, hawk, eagle, weasel, owl, beaver, opossum, skunk and vast communities of animals, plants and trees.
We acknowledge that these were also the primary tribal lands of the Algonkian speaking Abenaki [Abenqui], one of the five nations in the 'Wabanaki Confederacy' 'People of the Dawn' or 'Easterner'.
These people lived, hunted and farmed on and with this land, throughout what is known today as Vermont, for nearly two thousand years before their land was stolen and they faced genocide through waves of European colonialism from both the united states and Canada. This land and the spaces inside of it were built through and inside of that experience and by those forces.
Today this area is home to the Elnu-Abenaki [links to local tribal networks below].
We encourage you to connect with these people! They are still very much alive and active in the area and we invite you to learn more about them and their lives today.
We also strongly encourage you to seek out and connect with the indigenous communities around you as a practice, regardless of where you live, to learn about them and to listen to them and to support them. Engaging with, amplifying, and prioritizing voices from North American Indigenous and First Nations people is an essential part of the ongoing reparations
and healing work that is necessary in this country. Here is a map to help you find and acknowledge the tribes in your area.
We work to remember the true histories and realities of the spaces and places we live and work in and to integrate these truths, no matter how painful and to acknowledge our complicity and our power in making positive change. We are currently in the process of constructing a permanent, physical land acknowledgement at the field center.