Saturday, January 31, 2009

Schaghticoke Rally and Protest, Jan. 29, 2009

"If it was your house, and it was your mother's grave getting dug up, wouldn't you get upset?"
Tony Crone of the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation

Driving up to Hartford Thursday, when the The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation held a protest and rally at the state capitol, the fifth anniversary of its reversed federal acknowledgement, to protest the state's refusal to intervene on its behalf to stop the destruction of land on the reservation, I was sitting in the front passenger seat, when this big ex-Marine pictured above told me about spreading his Mom's ashes as she'd asked him to do. He said he put some by the old apple trees of the ancient burial grounds and then walked to the top of the mountain, placing some more here and there along the way.
He said, "When we did, we made - for lack of a better word - "rock piles," so we'd remember where they were."
These Rock Piles are now gone...
More at: Video from the Schaghticoke Rally and Protest

Canada's Stonehenge

A 5,000 year old medicine wheel in Alberta is getting some new interest [click here]. From [via Archaeologica]

Friday, January 30, 2009

Rock piles from the web

A nice barrel cairn from "Ivan's Gallery" at Picasaweb [click here]

A nice Scottish Cairn [click here]

....oop! time to leave work.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Winter at "Above The Falls" - Bolton MA

This is a favorite site I call "Above the Falls" and I thought it would be worth going out to take some pictures of it in the snow. Even though I know exactly where the site is, I had trouble seeing it. It was so covered with snow I would not have seen the rock piles - except that I knew they were there.
[Click here for all the previous articles mentioning this site.]

I had a chance to re-examine the layout of the rock piles around the main central boulder feature at the site and I took pictures from every angle. Here is a sketch of the layout:The picture is oriented with the top of the picture more or less to the North. Notice that four of the piles are more or less in line with each other. Notice also that there are several "gaps" - between the boulder and the largest pile, and between the upper two piles. Notice also that, with the exception of the large pile forming a gap with the boulder, the other piles are all slightly elongated in a directions towards the upper left, which would be roughly northwest.

Here are the panoramas. You can figure out which direction. I started looking north, then moving counter clockwise around the features.These gaps open towards water and, in fact the site is on a piece of land between two brooks which meet and form a cataract dropping down about 15 feet at the edge of the site to the east.

Here are "before and after" shots of a snow-covered pile:It was well-buried.

I should mention a connection between deer and this site. I found two different well-preserved deer skulls here. One had a full ten-point rack of antlers (which I traded to FFC for a lunch one time). Visiting this time in the snow, I noticed a deer had walked up into the gap between the large boulder and the adjacent large pile. The deer stopped, peed, and then came back out again. You can make out its tracks in the first photo above, heading up into the gap.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ice Stories - Rock Piles in the Arctic

[Click here]

Deer licking cat

Not rock pile related: This is so funny. [Click here]

Standing Stones in PA

An interesting link from Norman Muller:


Russell Means participating in Schaghticoke Tribal Nation rally from: Indian Country Today Story Published: Jan 23, 2009By Gale Courey Toensing
HARTFORD, Conn. – In the mid-1970s, at the height of the American Indian Movement, Russell Means came to Connecticut to support the late Golden Hill Paugussett Chief Aurelius Piper Sr. in his fight to protect the tribe’s half-acre reservation in Trumbull, which was being encroached upon by a non-Indian neighbor.Now some 40 years later, Means, who is perhaps the most famous Indian activist in the world, will travel to Connecticut to support Schaghticoke Tribal Nation Chief Richard Velky in his struggle to protect the tribe’s 400-acre reservation in Kent, which is being bulldozed and desecrating by a non-Indian intruder.
=> Read more!

"Indigenous Politics: From Native New England and Beyond" radio program on WESU, Middletownm CT , 88.1fm.
LISTEN ONLINE while the program airs from 4-4:55pm (EST):
On Tuesday's program, January 27, 2009, join your host, Dr. J. Kehaulani Kauanui for an episode focusing on a crisis on the Schaghticoke reservation in Kent , CT. Past programs of "Indigenous Politics" are now archived online:
See also: "Schaghticokes seek help to stop quarrying" by Kathryn Boughton @

Monday, January 26, 2009

STN Home Page

STN Home Page:

“The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation has been recognized by the Colony and then the State of Connecticut as a separate and distinct American Indian tribal entity continually from historic time through the 20th century. Today, the Tribe has approximately 300 members.
The historical and spiritual base of the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation is the Tribe's approximately 400-acre reservation in Kent, Connecticut. The reservation is mountainous and rocky, with a small strip of flatland located on a flood plain along the Housatonic River.
After decades of state policy to remove tribal members from the reservation, few currently live there. The vast majority of Tribal members reside in Fairfield, New Haven and Litchfield counties, along traditional Schaghticoke seasonal migratory routes along the Housatonic that were first documented in the 18th century.
From 1925 to 1972, Connecticut intensified a policy of detribalization and termination, making it extremely difficult for tribal members to live and gather on the Reservation. Tribal members were forced out, while those wanting to return home were refused permission. Except for farming, no business could be transacted and no buildings or improvements could be added without the written consent of the state. This anti-Indian policy is underscored by the fact that there were no public powwows on the Reservation between 1941 and 1972. All in all, tribal members recall, the Reservation was a "difficult place to live and survive" during this century…”
About the photots: These are some copies of Wtby Newspaper photos of the Last Pow Wow at the Kent CT Resevation, given to me by Marcia C. Grenier that she found in the archives of the Watertown (CT) Historical Society.
Posted: June 20, 2008 by: Gale Courey Toensing / Indian Country Today:
“After months of seeking state protection, the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation has filed complaints of human rights violations against three state agencies for refusing to help stop the desecration and destruction of tribal property. The complaints were filed with the state's Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities in April and May. Two complaints were filed by STN Chief Richard Velky against state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal's office and the Department of Environmental Protection. A third was filed by tribal council member Joseph Velky Jr., the chief's nephew, against the Connecticut State Police. The complaints charge that the agencies are violating human rights and state statutes by ''not enforcing the state laws to protect our tribal property, because the respondent [DEP] doesn't want to recognize the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation as a Native American entity. My complaints about destruction of tribal property are being ignored because I am a member of a Native American tribe.'' Joseph Velky Jr.'s complaint says the law enforcement agency refused to put his complaint in writing. All three stage agencies have refused to help, claiming that a ''tribal leadership dispute'' prevents them from intervening to protect the land. Velky said the state is claiming a leadership dispute in order to ''divide and conquer...''
Full article:

Standing Stones in PA - from an old Journal

Norman Muller writes:

Below is a very interesting, detailed account of standing stones in Pennsylvania, along the Brandywine River. The article that follows refers to cupuled boulders. This reference shows how much more can be extracted from old journals. The publication is from 1898.

[Click here]

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Quartzite on Cairn

From Norman Muller:
Attached is a photo of a cairn from Woodstock, NY, showing
a piece of quartzite on top. Your VA respondant asked whether there was quartz on the cairns I posted images of.


From Tim Mac Sweeney:

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Schaghticoke Reservation_ Kent CT

From: ProtectSchaghticoke
January 19, 2009

----- What is happening at the reservation today can accurately be called a hate crime and unmistakably desecration, despoliation and destruction of our ancestral land. In 2004 and again in November of 2007, a non-Schaghticoke individual trespassed upon our reservation, began ripping out trees, cutting and removing timber, quarrying stone and illegally excavating our sacred land without Tribal approval or official State permits. Since November 2007, Tribal members have been in contact with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and demanding an immediate cease and desist order to be applied to this intruder. No order was ever applied and the hate crime, destruction, desecration and despoliation have been allowed to proceed for over one year now. The Governor, who has been aware of this situation, allows the intruder to indiscriminately damage our ancestral land, digging up sacred artifacts and keeping them, despite constant opposition from Schaghticoke. To date, he has committed these crimes to over ten (10) acres of land. He has destroyed natural habitats including those of endangered and watched species, desecrated many burials with out any consequences as well as threatening a Tribal member with a rifle, again with out consequences. The State of Connecticut has been allowing these crimes to continue for too long. We are planning a protest in Hartford, CT on 29 January 09 at the State Capitol and Legislative Office Building. Please join us from 10 to 3 PM, snow, rain or shine. We, additionally, are circulating a petition; which can be viewed and signed at

We plan to hand deliver to the Governor on the day of our protest. Thank you for your support.

In peace,

Schaghticoke Tribal Nation Preservation Committee

Burning Rocks

Reader from VA directed me to this link:
[scroll down to June 25]

Looking at the large number of comments (with envy) and the long blog roll I can see this is a popular genre of blog: writing about the land the authors live on, often old farms.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rock piles in NY State

In response to my question about piles similar to those just reported from the Blue Ridge Mountains of VA [click here], Norman Muller wrote:
Attached are a few photos of large rock piles in Woodstock and the Finger Lakes region. Images 11 and 12 are from the Finger Lakes. 5 is from Woodstock. The person in VA can compare this with their site.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rock Piles in the Blue Ridge Mountains

An email:
pictures of rock formations and structures we have on our land down here in south west Virginia. After first noticing that they didn't look natural, and thinking "what is this? and why the heck would anyone put so much effort into building it up here in a hollow", I went looking around on line and came across your posts. Must say I was very skeptical at first but now I'm seeing many similarities with my rock piles.

I've kept very quiet about them locally and would prefer to keep their location private but I would very much welcome your opinion as to if they look man made to you. I started a blog about them but still have more pictures to upload. I started with the first pile of rocks at the entrance to a hollow and plan to post pictures of the different ones as you head up in there. I think I've found Twins, and a platform pile and I'll post pictures of those next. I'm also pretty excited to have found what appears to be a turtle and will post pics of that after I get through with the rocks in the hollow.

Here's the link:

Thank you for your time.

Remembering "Above the Falls" - Bolton, MA

This is a "gap pile" site next to a brook in Bolton. Here is what I mean by "gap pile":At this site the gaps are opening towards water - some open towards the noisy flowing water and some open toward small silent puddles.

Here is a central boulder:
and some panoramas. We are on a plateau, with a brook running through it and over a waterfall at the edge where there is a 15 foot drop off. I was thinking about going out in the snow to take pictures of this site, perhaps on Saturday.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Remembering Summer

Not too far from Golden Run Rd.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Light posting expected for the next week

Away on family business this weekend, I wont have a chance to go out and take photos in the snow and cold. Hopefully I will the following weekend.

Last look East of Whitehall Reservoir

Let me continue posting about the site I discussed earlier [click here] and [here] and [here] with this last little grouping of features about a boulder:Visible a few yards away: A place of small rock pile clusters, low outcrops and knolls with bits of wetland in between.

East of Whitehall Reservoir - Hopkinton, MA

Let me continue posting about the site I discussed earlier [click here] and [here]. Let's look at the map again:The area where I saw rock piles was perhaps 60 yards across east-west by a hundred or so yards across north-south. As I zig-zagged back and forth looking at different (or maybe connected) clusters of rocks piles, I thought I should be systematic. As I got up towards the highest point at the northern end, I was thinking I had to look thoroughly or I might miss something. This payed off when I spotted the largest and best built of the piles in the whole area, a kind of master pile just southeast of the summit. I am not sure why there was one bigger pile here but it seemed noteworthy.

A first view:And some other angles:The pile is an elongated oval in outline.

My sense is that if you go in along the red spot trail, when you get to the fork with the green spot should be able to see it a few yards away:

3rd Birthday of this blog

Roughly 78K page visits in three years. Happy birthday to the blog.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Schaghticoke to rally against state neglect

Photo courtesy Matt Bigos, member Schaghticoke Tribal Nation

A non-Indian intruder on the Scahghticoke Tribal Nation's reservation in Kent, Conn., has been desecrating sacred burial sites, tearing down trees, gouging out roads close to endangered timber rattlesnake dens, the tribe's symbolic protector, causing extensive soil erosion and destruction of streams and a vernal pool for more than a year.

Destruction on reservation is healing tribal rift
By Gale Courey Toensing
Story Published: Jan 9, 2009
Story Updated: Jan 9, 2009
SCHAGHTICOKE RESERVATION, Conn. – The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation will march on the state capitol on the fifth anniversary of its reversed federal acknowledgement to protest the refusal to protect the tribe’s reservation land.The tribe has put out a call to its 300-plus members, to the communities of northeastern tribes and any non-tribal supporters to gather on the south side of the state capitol building and the legislative office building Jan. 29 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to protest the state’s refusal to stop Michael Rost, a non-Schaghticoke trespasser, from cutting down trees, bulldozing roads and desecrating sacred burial sites on the tribe’s 400-acre reservation on Schaghticoke Mountain in Kent, Conn., said tribal member Katherine Saunders. The state claims its hands are tied because of a “leadership conflict"..."Rost was arrested in 2004 for the very same thing he’s doing now, however, now the state will not intervene in assisting Schaghticoke with a cease and desist order. We’ve asked through e-mail, snail mails, phone calls and they basically say they won’t help,” Saunders said.

Why is the state refusing to help?

“Part of me believes that through the attorney general the state doesn’t want to recognize the Schaghticoke as a state tribe any longer and I think they’re trying to basically take away any rights we have by committing cultural genocide to our tribe.”

Tribal members have turned to each other, and technology for support. They wrote and posted a petition at which they intend to present to Gov. Jodi Rell at the rally.The petition calls on the governor “to investigate and order an immediate halt to the hate crimes, destruction, desecration of sacred lands and encroachment” that continues despite the tribe’s requests for help.“We are deeply concerned about the overwhelming, negative environmental impact affecting our ancestral lands,” the petition states. “Much of this devastation includes: severing, ripping and cutting down trees which cause the unnecessary fragmentation of forest blocks, selling timber off an Indian reservation, quarrying large boulders, destroying endangered species and their habitats, and purposely inflicting irreparable harm to sacred land.””

East of Whitehall Reservoir - Hopkinton, MA (2)

Let me continue posting about the site I discussed earlier [click here], an area in Hopkinton of small knolls and wet spots and small rock piles clustered around and among the knolls. There were what looked like small enclosures in a few places on the knolls giving a sense of being places to look outward from.

For example:
You can see a kind of "U" shaped enclosure, right of center, opening towards the camera. A line of rocks leads off downhill to the left. Here is a view from the side of those rocks:There is a small rock pile at the lowest point (on the right in the picture) and you can also make out a few other placed rocks above it. Here is a view back up the line of rocks, we are looking back up towards the enclosure:
There were similar structures in a couple of places built into the outcrops. Here is the suggestion of something built into the outcrop:Here was another:
A closeup helps show this is an artificial structure:It is not certain that these constructions were used to look outward but it is consistent with the many small rock piles scattered around and the possibility that the piles were seen from above and used as positional markers. Looking back through the pictures, I also see several split rocks that seem to be part of the deliberate manipulation.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

One heck of a comment thread

All the usual voices are represented in the extensive comments to this post [click here] where Fred Meli is asking for an absolute count of how many rock piles are there in New England?

[More voices would always be welcome.]

Why are people suddenly interested in the Thomas Minor Diary?

There has been a surge in visitors arriving via a Google search for the "Thomas Minor Diary". Google sends them here to an article JimP wrote about it [click here]. So I am curious, does anyone know where this sudden interest comes from?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Remembering summer

Leominster, MA... Come for the views, stay for the rocks.

Online Petition

From: Linda Gray [] Sent: Friday, January 09, 2009 1:07 PMSubject: FW: Petition Online-Stop the desecration towards Schaghticoke

STN Members and Friends:

As some of you already know, there is a non-Schaghticoke trespasser ripping, severing and selling our timber on Schaghticoke Reservation. He has dug up huge boulders and with his heavy machinery he has moved, stacked and crushed stone for quarrying. He has bulldozed through our land making roads to lead up the Schaghticoke Mountain . He has bulldozed over the resting place where my niece laid her mother, my sister, Paulette Crone-Morange’s remains. He has razed much of the Schaghticoke land as we, and our Ancestor’s, have known it and the state of Connecticut officials are turning their cheeks.

In the 1700’s the Colony of Connecticut set aside this land in Kent , CT for the Schaghticoke Indians. This man is not a Schaghticoke Indian. He continues to destroy the land our Ancestors held onto for us to live on and cultivate. The state of Connecticut is refusing to stop him. Because of this, we must join together in force and do it ourselves, as a Tribe and as STN supporters. This intruder must be stopped now.

With that being said, STN is holding a protest on January 29th from 10-3 p.m. in Hartford on the south side of the Capitol building to demonstrate our objection. Please forward this email to your family, friends and acquaintances (out of state welcomed). We must act quickly, January 29th is only days away. We need many signatures. Also, if any of you can be present on the 29th to support this very critical issue, call myself at: 203-913-0827, or call the STN Tribal Office at: 203-736-0872 and leave a message or just show up. Dress warm. Your assistance is needed and appreciated. Please sign onto the petition now and forward it to as many as you can.

Thank you,
Linda M. Gray,
STN Tribal Genealogist

Forward from Dr. Lucianne Lavin

Hi Folks,

The proposed change in funds from the CT Community Investment Act will devastate historic preservation, farm preservation, and archaeology grants in CT. Please read and follow up if you value your historic and agricultural heritage.

----- Original Message -----
From: Lennon Hite
Sent: Monday, December 29, 2008 8:14 AM
Subject: Hartford Preservation ALERT
Dear friend of Hartford Preservation Alliance, Please read the message below and find some time to help us save this critically needed funding. Every voice counts! Warmest regards for the New Year, Laura
Dear Preservationist, Last Wednesday, Governor Rell proposed $365.3 million in cuts in spending and increased revenues for the current fiscal year to cover the deficit predicted by the State Comptroller. One line item for a proposed $10 million is to suspend payments for the rest of this year from the Community Investment Act of 2005, and to instead deposit the funds into the General Fund.
The Community Investment Act relies on a $30 fee charged by town clerks for all land record filings. The municipality keeps $4, and the remaining $26 is divided among historic preservation, farmland preservation, open space protection, and affordable housing. In the past three years, hundreds of grants to municipalities around the state have resulted in significant infrastructure improvements, created jobs, and preserved land and buildings that define the character of our state. After decades of limping along on small federal grants, historic preservation finally has a source of funds commensurate with its pent-up needs, and now the Governor’s proposal would ZERO it out. No other fund was completely zeroed out this way.
The loss of this income stream would be profoundly devastating to historic preservation in Connecticut. We will lose staff, programs, grants, and momentum on dozens of improvement projects.
Please call your legislator and the leadership of the legislature to ask them to leave the Community Investment Act intact. All pertinent contact information can be found at <> , and the address for all legislators is: (Legislator’s Name), Legislative Office Building, Hartford, CT 06106-1591.
We must act now, before any Special Session is called to deal with the deficit. We must save this dedicated income stream now, or it will never come back to us in the next biennial budget. Please act! If you email your legislator, think about putting the email address below on the Bcc line, and share your talking points with CPA.
Anita L. Mielert

Monday, January 12, 2009

East of Whitehall Reservoir - Hopkinton MA (1)

There are scattered small rock pile groupings throughout at least the area outlined and probably more. The topography is of small knolls and bits of wetland mixed together and, as far as I can tell, small rock pile sites occur at each knoll. To me they look like simple marker pile sites. Most of the piles consist of a handful of smaller rocks built on top of a larger rock with occasional more substantial piles having a well-built vertical face. I got the sense that the piles were visible from and clustered about the little knolls.

Drove to Hopkinton. I parked on Pond St, just west of and downhill from the nearest house. Entered the woods and cut off from the trail (which was marked like this:)I was not too optimistic but saw an interesting propped boulder and was re-assured:After a while I got into the eastern portion of what I had planned to explore and came across a small cluster of piles:Here is a view downhill from above, to give a sense of the moment and place.There are lots of rocks in the picture (click to enlarge). I believe most of them were manipulated. After all, the larger rocks were manipulated:Nearby the first cluster of rock piles, I came across an obvious boundary marker, (the approach:)(The closeup:)Any illusion that such boundary marking might explain the presence of the rock piles and larger manipulated rocks was dispelled not long after when I came to another group of piles, these slightly bigger and better built.

(Two views of a pile)And another nearby. Do you see the vertical face? Imagine viewing these from the knoll...I am thinking something to do with the shadows...? Here was another knoll with a damaged structure on it:This continued, with a couple of further highlights I'll put in separate posts: a larger central pile and some places that stone seats were built into the outcrops.

Update: an Anonymous commenter says they do not see the vertical face of the piles I showed above. Imagine the red outline graphic being in a single plane - not exactly vertical but close. That plane is visible in the pile, which is shown without the graphic above.