Drew Lopenzina: William Apess, Standing Rock, and the 1833 Mashpee Resistance

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Author and Professor Drew Lopenzina will be giving a presentation at the Great Falls Discovery Center, 2 Ave. A, in Turners Falls, MA on Saturday, February 18, at 1 p.m. The event is free and co-sponsored by the Nolumbeka Project and DCR.
William Apess was born close by, on January 31, 1798 in Colrain, MA.

Drew Lopenzina hails from western MA and teaches Early American and Native American literatures at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. His second book, Through an Indian’s Looking Glass (University of Massachusetts Press) is a cultural biography of the Pequot activist and minister William Apess, the first Native American to write and publish his own book length treatises and memoirs in the 1820’s and 30’s. Advance praise by Barry O’Connell states that Lopenzina “brings Apess nearly fully to life, which no one else, among many scholars, has. I know of no better reader of Apess’s own writing.”Lopenzina is also the author of Red Ink: Native Americans Picking up the Pen in the Colonial Period. His essays appear in the journals American Literature, American Quarterly, Studies in American Indian Literature, Native American and Indigenous Studies and others.

 

Drew Lopenzina on William Apess at Full Snow Moon Gathering

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“William Apess, Standing Rock, and the 1833 Mashpee Resistance”
Professor Drew Lopenzina, Saturday, February 18, 1 p.m.
Great Falls Discovery Center, 2 Ave. A, Turners Falls, MA

Drew Lopenzina hails from western MA and teaches Early American and Native American literatures at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. His recently published second book, Through an Indian’s Looking Glass (University of Massachusetts Press) is a cultural biography of the Pequot activist and minister William Apess, who was born in Colrain, the first Native American to write and publish his own book-length treatises and memoirs in the 1820’s and 30’s. Advance praise by Barry O’Connell states that Lopenzina “brings Apess nearly fully to life, which no one else, among many scholars, has. I know of no better reader of Apess’s own writing.” Lopenzina is also the author of Red Ink: Native Americans Picking up the Pen in the Colonial Period. His essays appear in the journals American LiteratureAmerican QuarterlyStudies in American Indian LiteratureNative American and Indigenous Studies and others.

Free and co-sponsored by the Nolumbeka Project and DCR.

Contact: Diane Dix: 413-773-9818, www.nolumbekaproject.org, nolumbekaproject@gmail.com       

Publisher’s listing here.

 

Nolumbeka Project Files Letter of Support for Narragansett THPO with FERC

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January 12, 2017

Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 888 First Street NE, Room 1A Washington, DC 20216Re: Docket No. CP14-529, TGP Connecticut Expansion Project
Support for Narragansett Indian Tribal Consultation on Traditional Cultural Properties

Dear Secretary Bose:

The Nolumbeka Project is a non-profit corporation with an all-volunteer board whose mission is to preserve, protect, and educate the public about Native American cultural resources in what is now called New England and the Northeastern United States. We are writing to voice deep concerns over plans of Kinder Morgan/Tennessee Gas (“TGP”) that will result in the destruction of ceremonial stone landscape (“CSL”) features sacred to Tribes with cultural, religious and historical connections to land in Sandisfield, Massachusetts along the proposed route of the TGP Connecticut Expansion Project (FERC docket #CP14-529, the “Project”). As TGP is well aware, 73 CSL features were identified in an on-the-ground survey conducted by several Tribes in the second half of 2016.

According to Deputy Tribal Historical Preservation Officer Doug Harris of the Narragansett Indian Tribe, a full one-third of these CSL features will be destroyed during the construction of this pipeline. Although some have suggested that it would be acceptable to disassemble the features and reassemble them when construction of the Project is completed, Mr. Harris explains that their disassembly would be an interruption of the prayers placed there. According to Mr. Harris, “Then what you have is an artistic replica of something that was spiritual. Once you remove the stones, the spiritual content is broken.”

On December 29, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) sent a “Notification of Adverse Effect” to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s Office of Federal Agency Programs, seeking resolution of this matter. FERC’s Environmental Assessment (“EA”), issued in 2015, included alternative routes that may have avoided many of the CSLs, but FERC approved the primary route before the CSL survey was undertaken. Thus, the FERC certificate was issued in violation of the implementing regulations of the National Historic Preservation Act (the “NHPA Regulations”), which require that the agency “complete the section 106 process ‘prior to the issuance of any license.’” 36 CFR 800.1(c). This regulation also makes clear that the purpose of initiating the section 106 process early in project planning is to ensure “that a broad range of alternatives may be considered during the planning process”. 36 CFR 800.1(c).

Disturbance or destruction of these sites would further erase traces of a part of our history, and a still living segment of our culture that is already too often ignored – that of this region’s first peoples.

To disturb these ceremonial features is damaging to the religious sensibilities of our Native citizens who still embrace the beliefs of their forebearers. Proceeding without full Tribal participation “in the resolution of adverse effects” is an unconscionable act that also violates the NHPA Regulations, specifically 36 CFR 800.2(c)(2)(ii)(A).

Regardless of our heritage, all citizens of our region would be poorer for the loss of these original historic sites, and their destruction should not be allowed.

FERC should not allow the Project to proceed before this matter is fully and properly resolved. Furthermore, Sandisfield Taxpayers Opposing the Pipeline (STOP) filed a request for a rehearing of FERC’s order issuing the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity in April of 2016 that has yet to be acted upon. FERC should grant the rehearing request without further delay, taking into consideration issues raised by the Narragansett Indian Tribe, STOP, and others over the course of the FERC proceeding.

David Brule
Nolumbeka Project Co-President

cc:        Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Office of Federal Agency Programs;
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Howard Clark: History’s Path to the Falls

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Anthropologist and researcher Howard Clark narrates the historical realities behind the 1676 Turners Falls Massacre. Quoted here in its entirety, you may read the original “My Turn” column in the Greenfield Recorder here.

History is not a random series of events. If you follow the colonial players and their interconnections through marriage or business ventures, you will see that their agendas, be it land speculation or the slave trade, are the driving forces that will explain the events.

Capt. William Turner was no hero, but a pawn. Gov. John Leverett of Massachusetts Bay Company, released him from prison over the objections of religious leaders, so he owed him a favor which will be clear later. Turner’s chaplain the day of the massacre was Hope Atherton, son of Humphrey Atherton. Humphrey and William served on the same Dorchester town board in 1652. Humphrey was given 700 acres of land in the Connecticut Valley for his services against the Narragansett’s and made magistrate of the Hampton Court in 1659. That same year, he created the Atherton Mortgage Company along with Gov. John Winthrop Jr. of Connecticut, Gov. Josh Winslow of Plymouth Colony and other people of wealth and power including military leaders (all land speculators).

Gov. Winthrop fined the Narragansett Tribe on questionable charges. In order to pay the fine, the Atherton Company loaned money to the tribe and when they tried to pay back the loan on time, the payment was rejected.

When the Royal Commission from England came over in 1665, after the fall of the Dutch territory now known as New York, they reviewed the Massachusetts laws on acquiring Indian lands and the Narragansett complaints. The commission re-wrote the laws to express Indian land could only be acquired through purchase or given by the Indians, and tore up the Atherton mortgage. Humphrey had died prior to this action but its remaining partners held a grudge.

Over time they devised a back door to the law by calling for “Just War,” which gave the colonies the right to pre-emptive strike by declaring they felt threatened. John Hull, another land speculator with connections to the valley used his own financial resources to purchase muskets and other munitions from England for the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1673 (two years prior to the war). He would become the war treasurer and convert one of his ships, “The Sea Flower,” into a slave ship to recoup some of his cost and was put in charge of the disposition of Indian captives that were brought into Boston.

Upon his death in 1683, the colony owed him between 1,500 to 6,000 pounds. There were others of wealth and power who also purchased muskets and munitions in large amounts with their own money for the colony in 1673. Hezekiah Usher was one of them. Land and slaves were the driving force for the colonies during the “Second Puritan War of Conquest” also called “King Philip’s War.”

The first conflict in the valley was conducted by Capt. Richard Beers and Capt. Thomas Lathrop against a fleeing group of peaceful Indians, including women, children and elders. The warriors dropped back at Hopewell Swamp to allow their families to escape (there were casualties on both sides. Beers and Lathrop paid with their lives shortly afterward.

The war wore down both sides and peace treaties were offered to the tribes. Pessacus (at the Falls) released John Gilbert, an English captive, the day before their meeting at Hartford, Conn., on April 30, 1676, as a show of good faith. Both sides agreed to work on a treaty. English captives were to be released.

Around May 4, Mary Rowlandson carried a letter from Philip, Pomham, the Old Queen and others seeking peace with Boston. On May 15, captive Thomas Reede was set free from the Falls and returned to Hadley with information about the lack of warriors (possibly 60). The rest of the village was comprised of women, children and elders because it was a refugee camp where all would have been fishing and drying the catch. They were not hunting as stated because it was not the season and fishing was more productive.

Shortly after Reede’s return, Rev. John Russell of Hadley asked permission from Hartford to attack the Falls. He was refused because of the ongoing treaty. Russell next contacted Gov. Leverett who was related through marriages. Leverett OK’d the attack. This completed this circle and Turner’s debt to Leverett was paid. Turner marched on the Falls May 18 with his 160 men (almost three men per every warrior present according to Reede’s remarks).

One needs to get beyond books written to justify past actions and actually review the old documents of the time and connect the players with the events.

Howard Clark is an anthropologist and historical researcher, and has done research for different tribes in the area. He was co-founder of both Friends of Wissaatinnewag and the Nolumbeka Project. He lives in Greenfield.

Nolumbeka Project Calls for Change in Turners Falls Mascot

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The Nolumbeka Project, the non-tribal organization for New England’s Native American tribes, is calling for the end of the Turners Falls High School’s current mascot, the “Indians.” The statement, which says the organization collaborates with the Nipmuck Nation, the Narragansett, the Aquinnah Wampanoag, the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohicans and Elnu Abenaki, said all of the tribes do not condone the use of Native American symbols as team mascots or nicknames.

The statement comes as a response to public debate on whether the Gill-Montague Regional School Committee should change the high school’s mascot. The School Committee is set to debate the issue on Tuesday.

David Brule, the co-president of the Nolumbeka Project and a Turners Falls High School graduate, said that while many in the Turners Falls community believe the mascot honors the local Native American culture, it is not the place of those in the community who aren’t Native American to decide for those who are. “Our position is that the tribes are the sole judges of what ‘honors’ them or what does not,” says a statement released by Brule. “We understand the non-tribal traditions and misplaced pride of sports teams using Indian symbols and mascots, but the time has come to let it go.”

Read the full story in the Greenfield Recorder.

Indigenous History and Heritage: A Journey

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Join the Nolumbeka Project and Jennifer Lee at the Full Snow Moon Gathering, Saturday, February 20, 12-3 p.m., Great Falls Discovery Center, 2  Ave. A, Turners Falls, MA. Press release follows:

Jennifer Lee (Metis/Narragansett) will share her personal journey as a Native American descendant. Her lifelong passion is learning the true history and culture of this land and about the presence of Native People today. Free – donations welcome. Thanks to Nur Tiven for creating our beautiful poster. Thanks to DCR for their co-sponsorship.

Jennifer Lee is a beloved friend of the Nolumbeka Project and we are grateful for this opportunity to hear her story. Every year, she graces the Pocumtuck Homelands Festival and provides a picturesque tableau for the day with her wigwam and bark baskets under the trees on the riverfront. She is an independent student of American Indian History. She is also a student and a participant of Indian culture. She travels to learn and travels to share what she’s been learning about the true history of this land and the existence, persistence, and resistance of indigenous people today. For the past 22 years she’s presented educational programs at schools, historic sites, festivals, museums and reservations. These presentations usually include a traveling wigwam full of bark baskets. This program will feature bark baskets and a list of recommended movies.