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BEN ALTMAN – I Own This Stolen Land

In 2021 photographer Ben Altman and his wife bought 38 acres of land next to their home in rural Danby, NY, to prevent logging and development. He recognized that the title to this beautiful land originated in genocide. More than two hundred years ago the Gayogohó:nǫˀ (Cayuga), one of the Six Nations of the Hodinǫhsǫ́:nih (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy, were violently and fraudulently dispersed from the homelands they had occupied and nurtured for over 10,000 years. Despite two centuries of genocidal repression and cultural suppression they remain resilient, but live almost entirely in diaspora, in Oklahoma, Ontario, and scattered across North America.

I Own This Stolen Land is a multidisciplinary project that seeks to acknowledge and take responsibility for the theft of the land; understand the natural systems, economic pressures, ecological stresses, and options for stewardship of the site; invite Gayogohó:nǫˀ people to visit and to undertake traditional and arts activities, building trust between them and communities in Tompkins County, NY; and develop scalable models for cooperative access to ancestral land.

This project is made possible with a Tier Three Project Support grant from the County of Onondaga, with the support of County Executive Ryan McMahon and the Onondaga County Legislature, administered by CNY Arts.

ArtRage Gallery
505 Hawley Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13203