The Rock Dam on the Kwenitekw: an ancient, powerful place at twilight below Peskeompskut. Strong medicine here, persisting through it all – the spirits endure. 8manosek = a fishing place
The 4th Annual Pocumtuck Homelands Festival, a celebration of Native American Art, Music, and Culture, takes place on Saturday, August 5, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Unity Park Waterfront in Turners Falls, MA. The event is free, family friendly, fun, educational, accessible, and of interest to all ages.
Performances include live traditional, original, and fusion music, a story teller, and three drum groups. There will be outstanding Native American artists, and games, activities and crafts for children. Also featured will be primitive skills demonstrations, a books and authors section, and condensed history lessons about Great Falls. The Mashantucket-Pequot archaeology team will be on site for the second time to analyze early contact period artifacts people bring to them. And Tim MacSweeney, keeper of the website Waking Up On Turtle Island, can help explain the significance of threatened sites considered sacred to the tribes such as in Shutesbury and Sandisfield. Food will be available, including Native American fare.
Performers will be Hawk Henries, Nipmuc flute player and flute maker; the Kingfisher Singers and Dancers, Wampanoag from the Mashpee, Aquinnah, and Herring Pond communities; story teller Larry Spotted Crow Mann, Nipmuc; the Medicine Mammals Singers; and Lee Mixashawn Rozie, who uses instrumental virtuosity and stories to illuminate the indigenous and African roots of “American” music. Be energized by the presence of three drums: Chief Don Stevens and the Nulhegan-Coosuk Band of the Abenaki Singers, plus returning favorites, the Black Hawk Singers (Abenaki), and the Visioning B.E.A.R. Circle Intertribal Coalition Singers.
Contributed map/Peter A. Thomas
Recorder Staff, Friday, May 26, 2017
Associated with ancient bloodshed and modern fender-benders, a familiar site in South Deerfield has a deep history that reveals a forgotten footpath fork, with a long-ago abandoned leg leading straight to the southern base of Mount Sugarloaf and beyond.
We’re talking about South Deerfield’s famous Bloody Brook Corner, a sharp curve on North Main Street passing the Bloody Brook Monument, commemorating the infamous Sept. 19, 1675, King Philip’s War ambush where Capt. Thomas Lathrop and 75 colonial soldiers and militia met their doom. Back then, both forks led to the nascent Hatfield village by roughly parallel routes at slightly different elevations.
The discovery of this forgotten fork in the road at a historical landmark came to light in the mid-19th century journals of Deerfield surveyor/mapmaker/historian Epaphras Hoyt, author of “Antiquarian Researches: Comprising a History of the Indian Wars in the Country Bordering Connecticut River and Parts Adjacent,” published in 1824. Born in Deerfield, Hoyt (1765-1850) began keeping a journal late in life. These journals were handed down privately among extended Hoyt family members for 165 years before they were assembled and sold at auction for more than $30,000 to Historic Deerfield in December 2015. Now available to researchers, these important papers provide an invaluable peek into upper Pioneer Valley history, and especially into the settlement of Bloody Brook, which became South Deerfield. So, of course, this fresh information about my hometown was of great interest to me personally.
I grew up in a house overlooking Bloody Brook Corner and could see the obelisk monument across the street through the posts at the foot of my bed. Maybe there’s a curse on that site, because I was awakened from many a sound sleep by loud nighttime car crashes. As a boy, I explored the meadows, hillside pastures and North Sugarloaf ridgeline across the street without ever getting so much as a faint whiff of an ancient fork in the road there. Centuries of tillage have likely erased any trace of that ancient path, although it’s not impossible that random pieces remain on farm roads between the monument and the youth baseball diamond a mile away at the southwestern foot of Sugarloaf.
My late father, a South Deerfield native with roots reaching to the very beginning of the village, was surprised to hear of the old fork in front of his house. A veteran land surveyor, he knew that the line dividing the eastern and western lots drawn by Deerfield’s earliest proprietors was the road leading from Old Deerfield to the Whately line — passing through The Bars to Mill Village Road, across Routes 5 & 10 to South Deerfield, and down Main Street to the Whately line at Brookside Cemetery. But he had no clue that what’s known as the Pocumtuck Path had originally forked into two trails at Bloody Brook Corner.
Now, thanks to Epaphras Hoyt’s resurrected journals and tireless research by retired historian Peter A. Thomas, we have a much clearer picture of the indigenous trail system between Hatfield, Deerfield and beyond. Thomas photographed and transcribed journal excerpts related to King Philip’s War and Bloody Brook before diligently searching for related papers in the dusty Historic Deerfield and PVMA archives. Despite his yeoman efforts, a couple of questions linger that may never be answered:
1.) What route did the Lathrop and his troops take from Hatfield to Deerfield to salvage winter grain before imminent Indian warfare swept the valley?
2.) What was their intended route back to garrisoned Hatfield with cartsful of grain when ambushed crossing Bloody Brook approaching the fork in the road?
Because the left fork to Sugarloaf appears to have been discontinued by the third quarter of the 18th century and was forgotten until very recently, and because the right fork became a county road and is still a heavily traveled secondary road, most historians settled on the latter as the most likely route Capt. Lathrop and his Flower of Essex troopers took that dreadful day.
However, documentary evidence in 1672 Indian deeds for Hatfield and Deerfield establish the presence of a commonly used trail crossing Sugarloaf Brook at a marked tree in the general vicinity of today’s Hagar Cross Road in South Deerfield. Likewise, the road following the river from Hatfield to Deerfield shows up on a primitive 1709 map. Also, on an August 1716 trip to the Connecticut Valley recorded in Judge Samuel Sewell’s diary, the Salem Witch Trials jurist stayed overnight in Hatfield with Col. Partridge before guide Samuel Childs of Deerfield toured him past Sugarloaf to view the Bloody Brook battleground and gravesite. Sewell’s written description strongly suggests that the route taken was the river road. Then again, Sugarloaf is on prominent display along the upper road as well, especially once you break into the sandy plain traversed by Long Plain Road. This outwash plain was, according to several archaeologists I’ve spoken to, probably open sandbanks in 1675.
Although Lathrop’s path is still a mystery that may never be solved, Hoyt’s journals provide more than enough exciting new clues to keep local-history sleuths busy for decades. Isn’t that what keeps historians’ engines revved?
Link to original Recorder article.
From Nur Tiven and Nolumbeka Project:
Please join me and David Brule from the Nolumbeka Project on Saturday, May 13th, for a half-day hiking and Native history tour along the Pocumtuck Ridge Trail. The PRT passes through beautiful highland wilderness and riverside forests, offering some great vistas along the way. On the walk, we’ll learn about the history of the region and it’s original inhabitants and stewards, the Pocumtuck people. The history will span before, during, and after contact with the European immigrants.
We’ll start in Great Falls (Turners Falls) and walk south on the PRT through the wilderness of Greenfield’s Rocky Mt. Park, Highland Park, Connecticut River, Deerfield River, ending at Woolman Hill Conference Center in Deerfield (Approx 5 miles)
At 6:30pm, we’ll end with a talk at Woolman’s Meeting Hall, open to the public, with more in-depth historical information and narratives from the research of the Nolumbeka Project. By Donation, Open to Everyone (must be able to walk 5 miles along mostly gentle terrain)
Questions? Please email me! I hope you’ll be able to join us!
Nur Tiven email@example.com
The Gill-Montague Regional School Committee has voted to change the Turners Falls High School mascot from the “Indians” in a 6-3 vote on Tuesday night.
About 70 were in the crowd of the auditorium as the five-month debate came to an unanticipated close when the School Committee voted to change after an hour of discussion on the issue.
The School Committee was partially through a process to review the mascot that they discontinued last meeting. Those who advocated for the vote said it was because the process had become overwhelmingly divisive in the towns and schools.
Read the full report by Miranda Davis in the Greenfield Recorder!
Video coverage of the School Committee meeting from Montague Community Television:
More coverage (some duplicate wire services):
Reprinted with permission from the author…
My message to the Turners Falls School Board Committee:
Dear School Board:
I have just a few things about the Turners Falls mascot issue and local history.
This issue is not a surprise. The community near Great Falls doesn’t know the history. Who exactly wrote the account of what happened in Turners Falls? Let’s be clear. It was not the Pocumtuck or Wampanoag or any of the other tribes who lost their lives on that fateful day.
Time after time, war after war, history is told (or not told) by the victor, the winner of the conflict.
When I interviewed leaders of the Eastern Pequot years back, I wanted Connecticut to know its own history, largely unwritten, hidden. Marcia Flowers said “we’ve been cleaning people’s houses for the past 300+ years.”
Indian people knew it was best to be invisible. Many still feel this way: invisible.
Pequot scalps? The bounty was $100 in colonial times. $100 is like a million dollars today, right?
Why don’t we all know this?
We’re not supposed to know.
This issue over mascots makes it clear. We argue over history. If it creates conflict, this is exactly how the oppressor and oppression works.
We in North America are literally educated to be ignorant of the true history. It’s a blood-soaked path in the pioneer valley and westward. Fictions were crafted by the nation builders who used war/massacre/colonization on the First Nations Indian People yet these facts were diminished or erased. Hiding truth and history only perpetuates continued racism and intolerance.
Your Indian mascot doesn’t honor anyone but reveals our ignorance.
Trace Lara Hentz, Greenfield, MA, former editor of the Pequot Times
Lew Collins added his voice to the Greenfield Recorder editorial debate, citing the Washington Post’s poll in May, 2016, which asserted that a majority of Native Americans did not find the use of Native mascots offensive. Excerpt below:
Mr. David Bulley, in the My Turn section, suggests that our Indian name and logo we use at Turners Falls High School “harms Native Americans” and that “Millions of natives as well as the American Psychological Association say there is no honor here.”
While these and other claims he makes are bold — they’re dangerously misleading. Mr. Bulley had his turn in the paper. Now it is “My Turn” to voice the supporters’ side.
Mr. Collins slips into the pervasive mindset that “Indians” are, for all intents and purposes of those in the dominant culture, nearly identical and can be lumped into the same basket. A graphic example is his lead-in paragraph:
But, may I suggest that we embark on this debate in true Indian fashion by closely following the deliberative “council fire” standards as outlined in the “Great Law of Peace”: “Neither anger nor fury shall find lodgement in their minds and all their words and actions shall be marked by calm deliberation.”
His “True Indian fashion” extracts wisdom from the Haudenosaunee Great Law of Peace, brought by Wendat prophet Deganawida, and invokes its rejoinder for peace and consensus – an admirable aspiration. May we all follow this exhortation! But, this citation is a perfect example of implicit stereotyping, part of the mindset underlying the appropriation of an indigenous mascot by a group separated from the subject (and history, and culture, and value system) of their usurpation. The indigenous communities of this region were, and are, Algonquian relations and allies (the Pocumtuck, the Nonotuck, the Nipmuc, the Sokwakiak, the Narragansett, the Wampanoag, and others), and not at all Iroquoian – as a matter of fact they were often at great odds.
This aspect of implicit bias (see this article, also from the Washington Post, just 3 weeks ago) is further bolstered by Mr. Collin’s defense of local enlightenment – and thus entitlement to the use of the Indians emblem – when he states “Right off the bat we know this is not the case in our community — it’s quite the opposite as many have spoken in great lengths about the Indian history that we are aware of in our town.” There has been a lot of speaking but there has been very little awareness of the true stories. The amount of conflation, obfuscation, misinformation, and generalization is staggering. Add to that the statements to the contrary being issued by the Tribes still here in the immediate area, the descendants of those who survived the Peskeompskut Massacre, and the argument does not come close to holding water.