We are settlers

For now, Fit is run by Marc and Hanna: two white people. Our ancestors came from Europe to the US and South Africa where they participated in the project of colonization. This includes forcefully removing indigenous people from their land and into assimilation, and enslaving black and brown-bodied people to labor for Europeans. Our ancestors used this land and labor to profit economically.

We too have benefitted from the legacy of colonialism. While neither of us are independently wealthy, we have good educations, we have sturdy networks of friends and family, and we are able to meet our needs. Our whiteness has protected us from some harm, hardship and trauma. 

We  acknowledge that Fit is based in Pittsburgh, on the ancestral lands of many indigenous peoples: the Seneca Nation, members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (referred to by the French as the Iroquois Confederacy). This included the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas. This region was also home to the Lenape, the Shawnee, and others.

Wanting to be part of change asks us to grapple with our inheritance as settlers. Fit does not own land. (Marc owns his home and has access to family land in Montana. Hanna does not own land.) As far as we know we cannot give land back, but we can participate in a shift towards re-matriarching land, towards the thriving of indigenous peoples. For now we do this by financially supporting Indigenous-led initiatives (thinking of it as a type of land tax). For 2021 we have donated to the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania and The Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center.

The same intention goes for our relationship to black and brown people. We prioritize the thriving of our black and brown kin. This desire has taken on many shapes and will continue to evolve. Examples of this is fundraising for stipends and scholarships supporting BIPOC to participate in courses and collaborating with partners of color, ensuring they are paid more than we.

While all of this is imperfect, we will keep learning how to show up and share in solidarity.   


Here are some resources that were helpful to us.

First Nations recommended reading, compiled by the First Nations Development Institute

Native Land Map — a community-powered resource that helps identify what Native land you are on

Invasion of America interactive map

On the practice of land acknowledgment

Nativegov’s resources — including a “Guide to Indigenous Land Acknowledgment” 

Honor Native Land: A Guide — a step-by-step guide for land acknowledgment

US Department of Arts and Culture: “Honor Native Land”

Voluntary tax, redistribution, etc.

Resource guide for indigenous solidarity funding projects: honor taxes and real rent projects


Indigenous people in Western Pennsylvania

Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center 

Seneca Nation

One indigenous woman’s view of growing up and living in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh City Paper, “There are indigenous people in the present”

Treaties: their importance and history of broken treaties in Pennsylvania

Why Treaties Matter  – A very helpful 5-minute video from NPR, through which Native scholars offer an introduction to land treaties and their importance to this day.

Kinzua dam


Treaty of Fort Pitt

Wikipedia entry for the Treaty of Fort Pitt
More in the Smithsonian

The purchase / Delaware Treaty of 1768

Crooked dealings between the British and the Iroquois, which disaffected most of the native peoples who were living in what is now Western Pennsylvania.

Explore History article
From the Heinz history center