July 21, 2020; Hyperallergic
When does the end of one nonprofit make a kind of poetic sense in terms of reconciliation and reparations?
Hyperallergic reports that the 36,000-square-foot building owned by the Yale Union, a contemporary arts organization in Portland, Oregon, will be handed over to the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) in observance of the fact that it is sited on land that belongs to four Native American Tribes. The 210-year-old building comes with a property title covenant stating that restricts its use to the arts.
The facility will be operated by NACF’s Center for Native Arts and Cultures (CNAC) as the group’s new national headquarters as well as an exhibition and community space for Indigenous artists.
Flint Jamison, the president of the Yale Union’s board, says that the handover acknowledged that the organization had control of the building “through the unearned privilege of property ownership.”
“It’s now time that we hand over the keys,” he says in his statement.
The transfer has been in the works for two years, ever since Jamison discussed the prospect with the late Yoko Ott, formerly the executive director. According to NACF’s statement:
NACF is a Native-led national organization committed to mobilizing Native artists, culture bearers, communities, and leaders to influence positive social, cultural, and environmental change. As such, it focuses on strengthening Native arts, providing artists and the creative community with the resources and tools they need to be successful, and expanding awareness and access to Native knowledge and truth. NACF is accepting this special property with great appreciation for what came before. We honor and respect the elders past and present, and acknowledge the land that this building sits on and the previous Native tribes and peoples who inhabited the land.
NACF and Yale Union plan to collaborate on artistic programming in 2021, after which Yale Union will disband and transfer the property later that year.—Ruth McCambridge