Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians Out of Existence in New England
An evening with author and professor of history, Jean M. O’Brien, Ph.D.
Wednesday, November 15 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, CT
Please join us and the members of the Mohegan Tribe for a special presentation by Professor Jean M. O’Brien (University of Minnesota). Dr. O’Brien will present on her book, Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians Out of Existence in New England (University of Minnesota Press, 2010). Drawing on more than six hundred local histories from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, Dr. O’Brien explores how these narratives inculcated the myth of Indian extinction, a myth that has stubbornly remained in the American consciousness. Firsting and Lasting argues that local histories became a primary means by which European Americans asserted their own modernity while denying it to Indian peoples.
This event is free, but please RSVP to let us know you will attend at (860) 236-5621 x238 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jean M. O’Brien (White Earth Ojibwe) is professor of history at the University of Minnesota, where she is also affiliated with American Indian studies and American studies. She is the author of Dispossession by Degrees: Indian Land and Identity in Natick, Massachusetts, 1650–1790.
The Retreat Farm’s makeover-in-progress is mostly likely observed if you’re driving in or out of Brattleboro via Route 30. The Windham Foundation donated the property to Retreat Farm LTD and grants have propelled the nonprofit to this point. “We’re just about to kick off additional fundraising,” said Arthur “Buzz” Schmidt, Retreat Farm president. Close to $1 million has already been spent on planning, groundwork and renovation of the farmhouse, according to Schmidt’s estimate.
Retreat Farm was transferred to his group on Aug. 19, a little later than originally anticipated due to issues with subdividing the land. The Grafton Cheese Factory had to be separated from the parcel. The business is owned and operated by the Windham Foundation. Last winter, the state approved an Act 250 permit so some development on the property could begin. A master plan application will still be needed for Act 250 review.
Altogether, there are 600 acres that Schmidt’s group is responsible for maintaining, including Retreat Meadows, trails, woodland and a farmstead. “It’s an expansive complex property,” Schmidt said. “There’s an underlying easement with the Vermont Land Trust that restricts the development on the property really to one 25-acre farmstead. That’s where all the development has to occur. We can develop farm resources on the other lands and we’re doing that.”
Note: The land at and near the Retreat Farm is highly sensitive for indigenous heritage and cultural lifeways, in more ways than one. Discussions have been initiated with the team (specifically Buzz and Lu, at this point); they are aware of this aspect and intend to incorporate awareness and respect into their long-range plans.
Full story by Chris Mays in the Brattleboro Reformer.
More information can be found at retreatfarm.org and on Facebook.
Early Vermont histories portrayed this area’s aboriginal peoples as transients who occasionally passed through southern Vermont, en route to and from Northern New York and Canada, but were ultimately not residents of the area and therefor had little claim on these lands.
In this podcast [BAMS history teacher] Joe Rivers and his intrepid band of middle school historians show that those early Vermont histories were very much mistaken.
This podcast is part I of a two-part series.
Produced October 20, 2016
I met Angela Evancie of Vermont Public Radio in Brattleboro’s Locust Ridge cemetery this morning for an hour-long interview (it’ll probably be closer to three minutes after editing). We were putting together material for a Brave Little State episode on the resiliency and resurgence of the Aln8bak – the Abenaki people – in what we now call Vermont. Angela’s editorial idea (brilliant) was to chat next to the grave of Col. John Sergeant, “the first person born in the state of Vermont.”
We covered a lot of territory (all good – it is n’dakinna after all) and I enjoyed the time spent exploring the state of things. And Angela is a wonderful, kind person. I believe this is going to be a good episode; it will be airing in November. I’ll post coverage here on Sokoki Sojourn of course.
Passamaquoddy Donald Soctomah will serve as program administrator.
From the Bangor Daily News:
PLEASANT POINT, Maine — A three-year, $750,000 federal grant from the Administration of Native Americans is aimed at helping the Passamaquoddy revive their language.
The tribe will use the money to develop two language immersion programs for preschoolers and a handful of adults — one at each of the reservations in Pleasant Point and Indian Township, said Donald Soctomah, who is serving as administrator as an in-kind contribution required by the grant.