Sunday, November 26, 2017

December Field Trips - MA NEARA

From Peter Anick:
Nice to see many of you at the Fall conference.  Hope you all had a chance to renew friendships and catch up on fellow members’ activities.

This time of year, one of the things we NEARA members are always thankful for is the disappearance of foliage, which makes it so much easier to find things in the woods.  Let’s take advantage of the better viewing conditions with a field trip on Saturday December 9 (rain date Dec. 10). 

The trip will be divided into two sections, and you are welcome to attend just the first, the second, or both:

Part 1: 9:30 – 12:30 Shutesbury.  Led by Rolf Cachat-Schilling.
At Pashpishont Mâunumúetash (“Where it breaks forth” Prayer Gathtering Places) remains a large cluster of prayer sites, some partly distrubed by recent construction, and some rather intact.  Several of the stone prayer groups consist of kodtonquagash (elevated stone groups), while others are clusters of winohketash (mounds), with a large effigy/astronomical observation feature (tûnuppasuonk kodtonquag).  There are some sacred relics stranded in a matrix of pavement and housing.  Across the road are different prayer relics, anógquéu kodtonquagash (concentric ground stone groupings), another observation point and mounds.  Uphill on steep ground lies a prayer group with both typical and unusual elements, which views sunrise in the valley below while having a neat ridgeline for observation of the sky south and west.  If time permits, other mâunumúetash can be included in the visit.  This entire group of prayer sites responds to the return on spring in the form of sunrise and the gathering of waters into a fertile valley.  Other clusters in Sanàkkômuk (Shutesbury), while sharing elements and ceremonies, respond to other events in the celestial-cultural cycle.

Part 2: 1:00 – 4:00 Montague.  Led by Peter Anick
Some years back we held a conference field trip to an area of Montague rich in unusual and carefully constructed stone works.  According to oral history, Indians continued to camp in the area well into historic times.  In addition to viewing some of the stone features, we plan to do some research at a local cemetery in the woods nearby.  We will be looking for evidence of several Indian graves associated with the oral history which (if we are lucky) may give us a date when they were here.   The trip will involve a couple of miles of walking through woods (mostly on trails without too much elevation) to get to sites.

To join the trip, respond to this email with the following information:

Email contact:
Part(s) of trip you plan to join: (part 1,part 2, or both)

Information about meeting places and further details will be sent out once we know the number of attendees.

Hope to see you!

UPDATEField trip date has been moved to SUNDAY, DEC. 10.  

I have just learned that it will be hunting season in Montague.  So in order to avoid any risks from hunters, we'll go on Sunday (hunting prohibited) rather than Saturday.  Hopefully, those who have replied can still make it! 

For those of you doing exploring on your own this season, please remember to wear orange to be more visible, and don't bring a dog.

- Peter


pwax said...

I find the new Indian vocabulary wrong: reinventing a relationship with stone piles that was lost. Today's Indians did not build those mounds in the woods and probably speak a slightly different language. It is like going to the barbershop where all the barbers pretend to be on a first name basis with the Red Sox team members. Honestly Peter, it is pretentious when Doug Harris does it, and it sounds really weird coming from you.

pwax said...

I am worried about saying the above politely. I want to say that the scientific community should decide what is right and wrong and stick with it. I want to stick with the idea that we are observing rock piles as part of the history of the landscape we occupy. I am not an Indian and think it is wrong to pretend to be one. But what to do when the Indians are pretending? I know the rock pile vocabulary is new - a combining of Algonquian roots that is not coming from prior tradition. These newly-minted words did not exist 15 years ago; nor was there a Native American awareness of rock piles. I quote from the president of USET, after hearing from Doug Harris: "We did not know about these things and you showed us the way".
Do you think it is more respectful of the rock pile sites to use those words? I don't.

Tommy Hudson said...

Thank you. I believe you said it well. And there is much I have to say on this subject, but instead, I will bask in the glow of your comments. Thank you again.