MISSION AND VISION STATEMENT
At the Contra Costa School of Performing Arts (“SPA”), we believe Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are integral and interdependent components of our work as artist-scholars and educators. We will be an organization that actively works against all structures and systems that marginalize, harm, and oppress.
We recognize that there is much work to be done.
We commit to the continual evaluation and development of our school’s systems in order to foster a culture of excellence, where every member of SPA feels valued, supported and inspired to achieve.
LAND ACKNOWLEDGMENT STATEMENT
Whose Land Do We Occupy?
COCOSPA acknowledges that although parts of Walnut Creek exists on both Bay Miwok and Delta Yokut Land, our campus is currently operating on the stolen and unceded land of the Bay Miwok people. The Bay Miwok people were recorded as six separate tribes in 1769 by the Spanish. These were the Chupcan, Julpun, Ompin, Saclan, Tatcan, and Volvon tribes. It is currently unclear if those names were created by the tribes themselves or by the Spanish colonizers.
The land that we occupy is blessed with Indigenous Ancestral Power of the resilient and resourceful Bay Miwok people.
There are very few Bay Miwok people left, and the Bay Miwok tribe has never been recognized by the federal government of the United States. Some California tribes signed treaties with the United States government in 1850 (often through force or coercion or misrepresentation), which gave up quite a lot of their ancestral land; it appears the Bay Miwok was not one of these tribes.
This is why we call the land “unceded” and “stolen.”
- What is a Land Acknowledgment? According to Northwestern University, a land acknowledgment is “a formal statement that recognizes and respects Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards of this land and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories.”
- Why Do We Recognize them? Again, to borrow Northwestern University’s explanation, it is “an expression of gratitude and appreciation to those whose territory you reside on and a way of honoring the indigenous people who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial. It is important to understand the long-standing history that has brought you to reside on the land, and to seek to understand your place within that history.”
- How do we know what land we occupy? Using resources such as San Ramon Valley Museum, the Canadian non-profit Native Land, and extensive research by the East Bay Regional Park District, we have been able to develop a stronger picture of the native people who thrived beautifully in the Americas before European-led genocide, disease, and forced displacement. These organizations use first-hand accounts of Spanish explorers, Mission records, and, most importantly, accounts from Indigenous people themselves to identify the land in which their people once lived and thrived.