Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Winter Solstice?


The east end of the red line above is very much disturbed by an access road,
across from which is a bedrock cliff:
There's a little sweet spot on the cliffside, where the sun warms a little place to sit,
where I know I've watched a couple Winter Solstice Sunsets:
I almost walked up there yesterday, but it clouded up.
I can't confirm that the sun sets directly over that row of stones.
The western terminus of that row of stones or snake effigy:

I edited these new images into an older post:

Monday, December 20, 2021

Hidden Vermont

 Ever since I was about 15 years old, I've been watching very similar stonework wash away from the Nonnewaug River watershed in Connecticut. Bits and pieces still survive - and sometimes shows quite clearly on the 1934 aerial photos of the area.

Take a look at this incredible stone work, "Hidden in Plain Sight" somewhere in Vermont:

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Nonnewaug Stone Fish Weir


This diagonal line of boulders in the Nonnewaug River in Woodbury CT, most likely a diagonal fish weir that is probably the source of the place name Nonnewaug, just might soon disappear. Maybe on Monday, I don't know...

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Indigenous response to MA Bill H.3982

[From Nohham Cachat-Schilling]

Here is the statement:

Why H3982 Belongs to 1492 and not 2022

N'tusowis Nohham Cachat-Schilling (NOH-hahm kah-SHAH SHIL-ling), Chair for Massachusetts Ethical Archaeology Society and Medicine Elder for Opitemakaning Mawhitit.

Shei:kon sewakwekon.  Wakatshenon:ni tsi ken’ itewes.  K'tuk8ak8aw weli.

Thank you for this privilege. I stand here on my ancestral land, unceded and undeeded at Maguonket, south of Northfield.  I’m Kanyen'keha:ka and Nashawe Nipmuk. My husband is Kanyen'keha:ka and Mahikan.  I recognize leaders in the room from Aquinnah Wampanoag, who also lived here during the wars on us. I recognize our Sokoki, Pacomtuck and Norwottuck neighbors nearby and in refugio.

I’m here to speak on H 3982, a bill to review and possibly rewrite laws controlling archaeology, geology, and fossils in the Commonweath. Family of all mothers, we cannot respectfully place together matters like the cultural legacy of an entire race of people with all the complex considerations attached to those matters – under the same purview as tick control, dredging, special rocks.  These concerns need to be handled separately.  In 2021 there is still nearly 100% disparity between centered preservation of Colonial Euroamerican legacy and Native American legacy in Massachusetts.

Relatives, H. 3982, should be at least two bills.  H3982 as it is now still does not meet ANY of the requirements we, the USA, as a nation signed along with all other nations in the UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as NAGPRA, and the ethical and non-discrimination policy of Massachusetts.

Our agreement with all other nations in the UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples forbids most of the actions planned by the commission.

An improved bill that meets international human rights standards is posted here:

H3982 violates through its manner of formation, its components, its manner of operation, along with its stated goals and processes Articles 9, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 of that UN Declaration that we agreed to honor.  That Declaration requires that Indigenous people be empowered “to determine the disposition of [our] cultural property.”

The described commission is incestuous - it's comprised of politicians and political appointees.  The described process is neocolonial hypocrisy, where mostly or completely non-Native power holders seek to determine the disposition on another race's legacy where the target race can only speak when told to speak and holds no power of decision.  The described process is discriminatory and violates the spirit of Commonwealth transparency policy.  The described commission violates the spirit of Commonwealth conflict of interest ethical policy in that many or most members of the panel are employees or partners with the Commonwealth, while the Commonwealth is the main party opposing preservation of Indigenous heritage sites and the main party that seizes Indigenous cultural artifacts and remains.

The commission would report to the Massachusetts Historical Commission, which was pegged as having “the most extreme policy of all 50 states” on Indigenous sacred stone prayers (Moore and Weiss, 2016, Ohio Journal of Archaeology). The MHC has an overall miserable record, having preserved no Indigenous places of importance separately from Colonial historic sites or incidental to ecological conservation. MHC has repeatedly resisted efforts by Indigenous groups to preserve places of critical ceremonial importance, like Sacred Hill Ceremonial Site in Montague, and Buzzard Bay Ceremonial Site.

MEAS has gathered in elements required for an ethical process in text that complies with national and international standards, which we have sent to the Commission, and is posted for anyone to review and comment at  This provides a basis for ethical process that properly centers Indigenous expertise and voices.

Using this text as a basis, we invite you to work directly with regional tribes, human rights experts, and others as stipulated therein. Unconflicted experts without gov’t ties and Indigenous voices must be the guides here.  The process and its results should be subject to public review and tribal review to meet ethical standards.  I and we welcome questions or comments now or at any time.

Taubotni k'tabotomuk.  Skennen kowa.  Thank you and Peace.

UN Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples

This document was signed by the USA and all nations of the UN. We agreed to abide by this declaration:

Nowhere in this document is any non-indigenous body given the right to substitute the local Indigneous people with non-natives or out-of-state/distant tribes to identify or determine the disposition of cultural property. Other tribes should be included, yes, but the actual local descendants cannot be excluded.

Article 9 Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right to belong to an indigenous community or nation, in accordance with the traditions and customs of the community or nation concerned. No discrimination of any kind may arise from the exercise of such a right.
translation: You can't declare anything about the legitimacy of Indigenous communities, nor can you deny our identity, nor can you exclude any Indigenous people because you choose not to recognize us.

Article 10 is about land rights.

Article 11 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to practise and revitalize their cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites, artefacts, designs, ceremonies, technologies and visual and performing arts and literature. 2. States shall provide redress through effective mechanisms, which may include restitution, developed in conjunction with indigenous peoples, with respect to their cultural, intellectual, religious and spiritual property taken without their free, prior and informed consent or in violation of their laws, traditions and customs.
translation: You can't decide what happens to our archaeology and artifacts; those are our property. Nor can you interpret our history or make public messages about us. Also, you owe us for the places you destroyed, and you need our consent to alter our places.

Article 12 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to manifest, practise, develop and teach their spiritual and religious traditions, customs and ceremonies; the right to maintain, protect, and have access in privacy to their religious and cultural sites; the right to the use and control of their ceremonial objects; and the right to the repatriation of their human remains. 2. States shall seek to enable the access and/or repatriation of ceremonial objects and human remains in their possession through fair, transparent and effective mechanisms developed in conjunction with indigenous peoples concerned.
translation: You can't block us from our sacred places. You also need to give us back our ancestor's bones and their personal items.

Article 13 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons. 2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that this right is protected and also to ensure that indigenous peoples can understand and be understood in political, legal and administrative proceedings, where necessary through the provision of interpretation or by other appropriate means.

translation: We will speak for ourselves, and we will name our places, and our names are to be respected like your names. Also, you owe us to "ensure that we can understand and be understood in political proceedings, etc." including "other appropriate means," but no one has approached us to make sure we are involved or that we know the procedure.

Article 14 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning. 2. Indigenous individuals, particularly children, have the right to all levels and forms of education of the State without discrimination. A/RES/61/295 6 3. States shall, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, take effective measures, in order for indigenous individuals, particularly children, including those living outside their communities, to have access, when possible, to an education in their own culture and provided in their own language.

translation: You need to provide access to extra-tribal Indigenous people for language, culture, etc. You also can't exclude us because we are not recognized or because we are extra-tribal.

Article 15 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the dignity and diversity of their cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations which shall be appropriately reflected in education and public information. 2. States shall take effective measures, in consultation and cooperation with the indigenous peoples concerned, to combat prejudice and eliminate discrimination and to promote tolerance, understanding and good relations among indigenous peoples and all other segments of society.
translation: You need to stop making public attacks on the dignity of Indigenous people fighting for our rights, Sen. Comerford and Rep. Sabadosa. Says here that MA is supposed to take measures against what you both did.

Monday, December 06, 2021

Public discussion of Bill H.3982: Speak Up For Democracy and Transparency on December 7 between 1-4 PM

Boston bureaucrats are crushing more than 30 bills into 3 hours of comment! That gives less than six minutes of comment for each bill maximum. At 3 minutes per speaker, that means only 2 people in 8 million people of Massachusetts can speak on each bill. This is a mockery of democratic process.

Native American cultural rights and property rights are thrown in with rocks and tick control! That's an insult to human rights and Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Everything about this is wrong.

Please help us stop bureaucrats from manufacturing consent, covering up neocolonial seizure of Indigenous rights, and reducing law to virtue signaling.  State and regional tribes objected to the last version of this bill.  Little was changed:

H.3982 is a bill that will allow Boston cronies to seize Native American human rights and cultural legacy in violation of international human rights law, international agreements on Indigenous Rights signed by the USA, and both non discrimination, equal protection ethics and transparency policies of Massachusetts. There is not a single guaranteed seat for Native Americans on our own rights and legacy.

Read our competing bill that gives regional tribes a seat at the table - and complies with human rights and equality law:

Critical topics are given the short shrift - like climate crisis resiliency, human rights and biodiversity. Also hidden in this haystack are bills to dredge sensitive aquatic habitats, burn public lands, etc.

Dedicated archaeologists and friends were working to negotiate a bill to review our preservation laws that fulfills equality, social justice and human rights talking points legislators love so much.  See our bill below.

You can speak for 3 minutes for democratic process, justice and equality - but you must register by Sunday December 5th.

The state is pulling a fast one on short notice, again during holiday distractions.

You can also write in, but the window for comment is small.   Thanks to Greg and Rochelle for sharing this.

They may also shift the date of this meeting at the last minute with little notice - so head's up.


Peace Grows from the Seed of Justice,

Nohham (they/them/two-spirit)


Date of Hearing: Tuesday, December 7, 2021 
Time: 1:00 PM-4:00 PM 
Location: Virtual Hearing 


Forestry, Funding and Administrative Infrastructure 

The Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture will host a virtual hearing on Tuesday December 7, 2021 at 1PM on the legislation listed in the docket below.    

Persons seeking to provide oral testimony must pre-register via this form:  

Please pre-register by Sunday, December 5, 2021 at 5PM. Once registered, you will receive an invitation to join the hearing one day prior to the hearing. Please note there is a time limit of 3 minutes per person for oral testimony.    

Written testimony may also be submitted to the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture by email to: 

Pre-registration through the above form is not required for written testimony.  There is no formal deadline for written testimony, though a timely submission allows the Committee time to thoroughly review testimony.  

Please contact Shannon Emmett, the committee's Research Director, with any questions at:   

Bill No. 
Blais, Natalie M. (HOU) 
An Act authorizing the establishment of old growth forest reserves 
Cutler, Josh S. (HOU) 
An Act creating a special commission to scope a state grant or low interest loan program for properties prone to flooding 
Dykema, Carolyn C. (HOU) 
An Act relative to the control of tick-borne illness 
Ehrlich, Lori A. (HOU) 
An Act establishing the municipal reforestation program 
Finn, Michael J. (HOU) 
An Act relative to forest protection 
Garballey, Sean (HOU) 
An Act to create a special commission to study the effects of rat poison on wildlife 
Hunt, Daniel J. (HOU) 
An Act relative to DCR retained revenue 
Kearney, Patrick Joseph (HOU) 
An Act requiring a Massachusetts Fishermen's Partnership Seat on the seaport economic counsel 
Mark, Paul W. (HOU) 
An Act relative to harvesting of forest products   
Muradian, Jr., David K. (HOU) 
An Act relative to critical wildlife habitat management 
Peake, Sarah K. (HOU) 
An Act establishing a Massachusetts flood risk protection program 
Rogers, David M. (HOU) 
An Act responding to the threat of invasive species 
Roy, Jeffrey N. (HOU) 
An Act to assist municipal and district ratepayers 
Sabadosa, Lindsay N. (HOU) 
An Act relative to increased protection of wildlife management areas 
Sabadosa, Lindsay N. (HOU) 
An Act to Ensure Accountability and Public Rights Regarding Commercial Tree Harvesting on Commonwealth-owned Lands 
Whipps, Susannah M. (HOU) 
An Act improving access to the natural and recreational resources of Massachusetts 
Fernandes, Dylan A. (HOU) 
An Act to overcome coastal and environmental acidification and nutrient pollution 
Kearney, Patrick Joseph (HOU) 
An Act relative to a marine special activity license program 
Carey, Daniel R. (HOU) 
Resolve relative to protecting the archaeological, geological and fossil resources of Massachusetts 
Fernandes, Dylan A. (HOU) 
An Act to protect Cape Cod's environment and water supply 
Fernandes, Dylan A. (HOU) 
An Act establishing the Blue Communities Program 
Creem, Cynthia Stone (SEN) 
An Act establishing the municipal reforestation program 
Eldridge, James B. (SEN) 
An Act relative to critical wildlife habitat management 
Hinds, Adam G. (SEN) 
An Act preserving old growth forests 
Hinds, Adam G. (SEN) 
An Act to protect public and private woodlands and woodlots in the Commonwealth  
Hinds, Adam G. (SEN) 
An Act promoting and protecting Massachusetts forests 
Hinds, Adam G. (SEN) 
An Act reducing unnecessary destruction of forests 
Jehlen, Patricia D. (SEN) 
An Act responding to the threat of invasive species 
Kennedy, Edward J. (SEN) 
An Act re-establishing the Clean Environment Fund 
Moore, Michael O. (SEN) 
An Act to assist municipal and district ratepayers 
Moore, Michael O. (SEN) 
An Act establishing an environmental police cadet program 
O'Connor, Patrick M. (SEN) 
An Act establishing a regional dredge grants program 
O'Connor, Patrick M. (SEN) 
An Act relative to the financing of dredging projects 
Pacheco, Marc R. (SEN) 
An Act establishing a Massachusetts Flood Risk Protection Program 
Tarr, Bruce E. (SEN) 
An Act creating a special commission to scope a state grant or low interest loan program for properties prone to flooding<

Please be advised that the schedule and agenda are subject to change at the discretion of the Chairs per committee rules. 


Shannon Emmett
Research Director

Chair Carolyn C. Dykema
Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture

State House | Boston, MA 02133
(C): 978-882-5633

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers