Unearthing the New Narratives of 1676

unearthing the new narratives of 1676

As many of you know, David Brule, president of the Nolumbeka Project, is also the coordinator of the National Park Service Battlefield Protection Program Study here in the Wissatinnewag-Peskeompskut area and helped organize this informational presentation.  The session is hosted by the Battlefield Grant Advisory Board which is composed of five towns and four tribes.

The Aquinnah Wampanoag, the Chaubunagungamaug Band of Nipmuck Indians, the Elnu Abenaki, and the Narragansett Indian Tribe, as well as Historical Commissioners from Montague, Greenfield, Gill, Northfield and Deerfield have been meeting monthly over the past five years, coordinating this battlefield study of the complex massacre and counter-attack in 1676 that has marked our region over the subsequent centuries.

6:30 — 7:15 P.M. A power point presentation will focus on the final Phase II archaeological report of the Research Team of the Mashantucket Pequot Museum. The Team did extensive field research on the battlefield terrain stretching from Riverside through Factory Hollow and into the Nash’s Mills area of Greenfield. Their discoveries and new interpretations of the event add to the growing body of knowledge, fueling high local and regional interest in the event of May 19, 1676.
7:15 — 8:30 P.M. The second part of the program will feature a panel of four Tribal Historical Preservation Officers and Christine De Lucia, noted author and assistant professor of History at Mt Holyoke College. They will address the topic of “Unearthing the New Narratives of 1676” and will welcome questions and opinions from the public.   preseThis Public Information Session is sponsored by the Montague Planning Department, and the National Park Service Battlefield Protection Program.  For more information call 413-863-3200×207 or www.kpwar.org .

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The Land Speaks: New Perspectives on the Falls Fight

the land speaks battlefield study update poster

Using Archaeology at Great Falls, May 19, 1676

peskeompskut battlefield study public hearing nmh gill

Using archaeology to reconstruct the events at the Great Falls on May 19,1676— Insights from indigenous scholars & academic archaeologists

Thursday, June 22, 2017 – 6-8:30 pm at Northfield Mount Hermon School, Gill, MA. Raymond Hall, Rhodes Fine Arts Center.

Please join us for a presentation on the King Phillip’s War (1675-76) Peskeomskut (Turners Falls) Battlefield Mapping project by the Mashantucket-Pequot Museum Research Team followed by a panel discussion with indigenous scholars and academic archeologists.
Schedule: 6-6:30, social mixing with snacks; 6:30-7:15, MPMRC presentation and updates; 7:15-8:30, panel discussion with:

Paul Robinson retired State Archaeologist of Rhode Island 

Elizabeth James-Perry of Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head/Aquinnah Tribal Historic Preservation Office  

Doug Harris, Narragansett Indian Tribal Historic Preservation Office  

David Tall Pine White of Chaubunagungamaug Band of Nipmuc Indians Tribal Historic Preservation Office  

Kevin McBride of Mashantucket-Pequot Museum Research Center

Hosted by the Battlefield Grant Advisory Board: a consortium of 5 Towns and 4 Tribes. Sponsored by the Gill Historical Commission, Northfield Mount Hermon School, Montague Planning Department, & the National Park Service Battlefield Protection Program.

For more info call 413 863 3200 x 207 or www.kpwar.org

Ed Gregory: Turner’s Falls Massacre Was Revenge

ed-gregory-greenfield-recorder

 

Read Ed Gregory’s full column in the Greenfield Recorder.

As of late there’s been quite a stir about the Turners Falls High School “mascot.”

Recent Recorder letters have alluded to the Capt. Turner raid on the Indian gathering at Riverside (not the Turners Falls side of the Connecticut River), mentioning that Turner indiscriminately killed the Indians that were there at the time of the foray.

As a historical fact, Turner and his men did kill a sizeable number of the Indians encamped there. For those folks who believe Turner had nothing better to do than kill Indians, let’s briefly examine why this took place.

Before King Philip’s War, concerted Indian attacks were waged upon the English settlers in Massachusetts and elsewhere. The Indians, stole crops and cattle, burned buildings and, in some instances, kidnapped and killed settlers. These attacks went on for a number of years. There came a point in time when the settlers had to make an attempt to put these assaults to rest.

A contingent of settlers approached the then-governing body of the Massachusetts Bay Colony to plead their case.

Hearing and understanding the concerns of the settlers, the officials were aware of a person that was jailed in Boston for being a religious dissident. This person they knew had a military background, and as an enticement for him to form a group of a few military men and settlers, commuted his sentence and allowed him to formulate plans for the encounter at Riverside. This person was Capt. William Turner.

The raid took place in the dark hours of the morning of May 19, 1676. Turner had little knowledge of the size of, or the number of, Indians gathered there. It turns out that most of the Indian braves were away hunting, and the gathering was made up of mostly women and children.

The rest should be familiar to those so interested in the Turner incident.

Now here’s the rub. Indians are not as innocent as some would believe. Native American advocates never mention the aggressiveness and vicious intent of the various Indian tribes in and about the New England area at that time. In some instances, that aggression was duly wrought.

Turner’s raid was sanctioned by the Massachusetts Bay Colony. I say again: sanctioned by the Massachusetts Bay Colony. With its blessing, the encounter at Riverside now resides in the annals of New England and Indian history.

Concerning this truncated historical account, and the knowledge that the Massachusetts Bay Colony officials endorsed Turner’s actions, some of those who wish to change the Turners Falls High School “mascot” (name and logo) are now advocating changing the name of the village of Turners Falls to whatever.

They may also want to consider changing the name of Massachusetts. After all, the Massachusetts Bay Colony officials would be the leading contributer to the entire Riverside episode. I would think that this would be far more offensive than an “Indian” moniker or head-dressed brave … the rather mundane but proud T.F.H.S. “mascot.”

I would encourage those so inclined to sympathize with the Indian culture and tradition to expand their historical understanding in regard to this: the Falls Fight of King Philip’s War (also known as Metacom’s Rebellion). One will also learn that the Falls Fight would be the leading contributor to ending the 1675 to 1676 King Philip’s War.

Numerous historical accounts of King Philip’s War and the Falls Fight are available via the internet and local libraries.

Learn the rest of the story before making judgment.

Ed Gregory is a historian of the town of Montague and village of Turners Falls. Born and raised in Turners Falls, he resides in Greenfield.

Turner’s Fall – A Circle of Ripples

puckcomeggon-green-river-william-turner

Yesterday I came to this place, the Pukcommeagon, or Puckcommegon, as they say it was called, known today to most as the Green River. Just below the popular municipal swimming area on Nash’s Mill Road, on the west side of the Town of Greenfield (named after the river itself), less happy events transpired a long time ago. Here, on the morning of May 19th, 1676, a stone was cast in the waters of time and the ripples still pulse upon our lives.  At this fording of the river (probably rising much higher in mid-May three-and-a-half centuries ago), the commander of the colonial militia, retreating from his attack on the tribal people gathered at Peskeompskut, met his mortal end. Already a broken and gravely ill man, Capt. William Turner was struck here by pursuing warriors and died shortly thereafter on the western bank.

Gazing upon the lazy flow of the river in mid-September, it seemed an embodiment of the circular sweep of time: now, then, still to come. It is all here, sliding into the distance. A slow meander of hazy water, clear up close and opaque at a remove, sliding through the piercing light and the overhanging shadows. Slipping over the ancient Permian shoulders of fissured red conglomerate; alongside shifting sand shoals marked with the skitterings of four-footeds and long-legged flyers; passing silently beneath roads and walkways, heading southward to the Kwanitekw and great salty Sobakw. Up to the sky and down to the mountains. Water is life, the rivers connect the people. Circles and ripples, silence and murmurs, as above, so below.

My friend Joe Graveline, in speaking about the 1676 massacre at Peskeompskut (known historically as the Falls Fight – just 3 miles to the east), has said “at sunrise on that morning a light went out, on twelve thousand years” of community, in a place of peace and sharing. And so it did, abruptly and summarily. The disruption and confusion still reverberates and confuses those who remain. His observation gave me great pause and made me ponder the consequences and implications; it seems so harsh and final. But now I come away from the banks of the timeless river with another perspective, along the lines of the traditional firekeepers, whose responsibilities are to keep the sacred fire burning and to carry fire to the next place. Glowing embers, a small fragment of the original open flame, are secured in a safe receptacle, protected and nurtured until the next destination is reached. The sustaining flame of life has been hidden in this place but it is still here, held in the land and waters; we can see it if we look in the right direction, in the center.

1676 and Beyond: Tribes, Race, and Untold Histories

A flyer for the upcoming presentation by David Tall Pine White and David Brule to be held at Greenfield Congregational Church on November 7, 2015, from 10 am ’til 12:30 pm. Now what? –  a contemporary perspective through a historical lens.

flyer 11-7-15 white brule greenfield