Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Nolumbeka Project - May 2 River Walk

For Immediate Release:
River Walk: Native American History
Saturday, May 2, 2015; 10am-12pm
Turners Falls, MA
Diane Dix

Join the Nolumbeka Project and Connecticut River Watershed Council to learn about 10,000 years of Native American presence near the Great Falls. Learn from and speak to experts in the Native American history of this area, culminating in the Turners Falls massacre during King Phillips War in 1676. Meet at 10 a.m. the Unity Park/bike path gravel parking area on 1st  St.  in Turners Falls. It involves leisurely walking along paved bike path for 1-1.5 miles. Accessible to all; dogs on leashes welcome. Free (donations appreciated).

The guides will be Nolumbeka Project Board members David Brule, Howard Clark, and Joe Graveline.  Collectively they share about one hundred years of information reconstructed through research, observations, insight, education, explorations, field work and associations, which illuminates the little known history of the early Native American culture of the Northeast. All three work closely with the Narragansett Indian Tribal Historic Preservation Office and monitor local Native American/American Indian sacred sites
Brule, of Narragansett and Nehantic descent, is the coordinator of the newly awarded National Park Service Battlefield Protection Program whose goal is to identify the likely locations of the King Phillip’s War (1675-76) Peskeomskut (Turners Falls) Battlefield and associated sites, including the Native American community Peskeomskut-Wissatinnewag. This is in partnership with an archaeologist, town historic commissions, and members of four New England tribes.

Clark has Cherokee roots and his extensive research into the Native history of this area revealed the prime importance of Great Falls as a gathering place for many Northeastern tribes during the fish runs.  The Great Falls Massacre on May 19, 1676 was a turning point in the King Philip’s War. Clark was instrumental in securing protection for the land across the river, Wissatinnewag, and was a signer of the Reconciliation Agreement between the Town of Turners Falls and the Narragansett tribe at Unity Park on May 19, 2004.

Graveline, Nolumbeka Project president, is descended from Cherokee and Abenaki and began learning about the native culture from his mother at a young age. He specializes in presenting the unrepresented Indian side of American history.  He was one of the organizers of the Reconciliation Agreement; and of the Peoples Harvest Native American cultural celebration that took place on the Banks of the Connecticut River in Gill, MA in 2005 and 2006.

 Although the river has gone through many changes the history remains and much will be revealed and explained during the walk. The guides will also offer a “geological primer” and give an overview of 345 million years history how the land was formed. Early May is a prime time for this event, before the leaves fully cover the trees. From across the river the serpentine trails down the hill from the Wissatinnewag land to the fishing stations below will still be visible.A map will be provided to help identify some of these features during the walk.  Binoculars might be helpful, not just to see the sights but there will likely be migrating waterfowl and the occasional eagle.

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