All About the 2023 TeeHC Open Land Acknowledgement Ceremony

It is said that 99% of Native land was stolen from Indigenous people by the government of the United States. To combat this dispossession, land acknowledgments have become more common in public events, educational institutions, government meetings, and various other settings as a way to raise awareness about Indigenous issues and promote reconciliation efforts.

However, it’s crucial that these acknowledgments are done respectfully and with a genuine commitment to supporting Indigenous communities and their rights.

Given the legacy of tribes in Massachusetts, the state also has a larger presence of Indigenous reservations, landmarks, museums, and more.

As we host our annual cannabis networking event on land that once belonged to the Native Americans, we commit ourselves to rightfully recognizing the historical roots of the venue we have the privilege of enjoying every year.

Here’s a look into the 2023 TeeHC Open Land Acknowledgement Ceremony:

What is a traditional Indigenous land acknowledgment ceremony?

A land acknowledgment ceremony is a practice in which individuals or groups publicly recognize and honor the Indigenous peoples whose ancestral land they are on. It is a way to show respect for Indigenous communities, their history, and their ongoing connection to the land.

Typically, when events take place on Native land – whether federally acknowledged or not – hosts will offer some type of commitment to support. At the 2023 TeeHC Open, we took this a step further by inviting local tribes to perform a traditional ceremonial blessing for us.

These ceremonies vary among different Indigenous cultures and regions, but they typically involve verbal acknowledgment, expression of respect, gratitude, and cultural elements.

Land History of Grafton, MA

According to local Native tribes, the land in Grafton, MA where the annual TeeHC Open takes place (Highfields Country Club & Golf Course) belongs to the Nipmuc nation.

As in the rest of the country, most of the original land was sold off to English families, and by the end of the 19th century, only a few areas of Grafton remained in possession of direct descendants of Nipmuc landholders.

According to representatives and affiliates of the Nipmuc nation, “For American Indians, our land is the seed that keeps our bloodline and in return that creates our people’s culture. With it, they carry their ancestors and honor one another.”

2023 Land Acknowledgement Ceremony

At the 2023 TeeHC Open, we invited a group of traditional Eastern Medicine Singers to represent the Nipmuc nation and Pocasset tribe. They are a group of singers and drummers from affiliated tribes that perform in a Native American pow-wow style.

They ushered in the start of the evening events: the awards ceremony and outdoor concert. The tribal group welcomed everyone and provided some education about the Nipmuc land. The ceremony then took place on the stage with a blessing, some traditional songs, and smudging, setting the stage for an evening filled with positive vibes. The songs featured drummers and singers performing in an Eastern Algonquian dialect.

We were thrilled to host the following tribe members and affiliates:

  • Chief Sequan Pijaki “Yellow Feather”
  • Chief Daryl “Black Eagle” Jamison
  • Chief Lisa “Woman Warrior” Carlson Grey
  • War Chief, Robert “Running Elk” Cox
  • Pocasset Wampanoag Tribe of the Pokanoket Nation / Watuppa Reservation
  • Ulum Pixan, Global Village
  • Chief Carlena ”Two Feather” Carter Morgan / Nipmuc
  • Chief Sky Watcher / Nipmuc
  • Wunnamwau Tom Frederick / Chappaquiddick of the Pokanoket Nation

The Pocasset Land Trust was also present under the tent in the Chill Zone throughout the 2023 event, encouraging all attendees to commit to supporting Indigenous rights, advocate for social justice, and engage in efforts to promote reconciliation and understanding.

You can learn more about the Land Trust initiatives and programs at

Cannabis Networking in Massachusetts

The annual TeeHC Open takes place every year at the Highfields Country Club and Golf Course in Grafton, MA. As an outdoor cannabis networking event with golf and non-golf activities, we pride ourselves on creating a diverse environment for our attendees.

From relevant cultural education and ethical programming, we are committed to honoring the history and people who made our event possible. Contact us to get on the list for next year to partake in this industry networking day and make connections to grow your business.

*Photos taken by Steph Larsen, Steph Larsen Photography

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