Saturday, July 27, 2013

Native American Presence at Turners Falls Block Party 2013

 (Look for us next to the Shea Theater!)

Setting their tents side by side, The Nolumbeka Project, Inc. and Medicine Mammals will bring a Native American presence to the Turners Falls Block Party and Heritage Festival on Saturday, August 10, from 2 – 8 p.m.

The Nolumbeka Project will be raffling a moose hide frame drum created especially for the raffle by Strong Oak, Circle Keeper of the Visioning B.E.A.R. Circle, as well as four outstanding pieces of Native American jewelry, and several other items. Funds raised from the raffle will be used toward the purchase, protection and maintenance of Native American sacred sites, such as the Wissatinnewag site in Greenfield. Profits will also be used to offset legal expenses associated with acquiring and protecting such sites, and to give support to the ongoing archive digitization project. The raffle drawing will be in November. 

Photo courtesy of Chris Sawyer-Laucanno
Medicine Mammals is a Wildlife Rehabilitation facility in Wendell. Animals are brought there either injured or orphaned and cared for by Loril MoonDream and volunteers. They also offer a variety of programs on wildlife and Native American culture. Loril, who has Apache roots, will bring handmade items to sell and orphaned or injured turtles for people to see. They will have two half-hour sessions for children, at 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., to make traditional hand-made cornhusk dolls and antler tip necklaces. The cost is $2. Her singing group comprised of herself, B’N’Ducco, and T’K’Lyn, both of Iroquois and Cherokee heritage, will perform at various times throughout the event. They will sing traditional Native American as well as contemporary music.  All proceeds will benefit Medicine Mammals. For more about the organization, go to

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Brief, Respectful Ceremony

Thanks to Christopher Sawyer-Laucanno and the Montague Reporter for their excellent coverage of the Nolumbeka Project's May 19 gathering--and for their permission to reprint this article in its entirety.  Reconciliation Elegy, a poem by Montague Selectwoman Patricia Pruitt (which we have published elsewhere on this site) was also part of that May 23 issue.

(All photos courtesy of Christoper Sawyer-Laucanno)

Healing Ceremony Held at Discovery Center for the Great Falls Massacre

     TURNERS FALLS---"The reason we are gathered here today is to continue the process of healing," said Joe Graveline, president of the Nolumbeka Project, as he welcomed a crowd of nearly 80 to the Great Falls Discovery Center on May 19.  The gathering to commemorate the 337th anniversary of the Great Falls Massacre, featured talks by Graveline, Barry Higgins (White Crow) master flute maker of Pennacook-Abenaki descent who also played one of his hand-made instruments, and an invocation for peace and healing led by Strong Oak, Circle Keeper of the Visioning B.E.A.R. Circle.
Joe Graveline, president of Nolumbeka Project
Graveline began his talk by thanking the 2004 Montague Selectboard for initiating the Reconciliation Ceremony held at Unity Park in Turners Falls on May 19, 2004.  This ceremony, which took place on the 328th anniversary of Captain William Turner's attack on the peaceful encampment of Native Americans at Peskeompskut (Great Falls), sought to "put the traumatic echoes of the past to rest." The ceremony last Sunday was an effort to continue and renew the spirit of cooperation and healing initiated in 2004.  Two members of the 2004 board, Patricia Allen and Patricia Pruitt, as well as town administrator, Frank Abbondonzio, were in attendance.  Allen Ross, the third member of the 2004 board, was unable to attend.

     Graveline noted that 20 generations had the opportunity to shift the sinister and negative energy to a positive and healing focus, but only in 2004 did this begin to happen.  He stressed that for over ten thousand years this site had been a place of peace, and that it should be again.  The Pocumtucks and their ancestors had long welcomed Native peoples from throughout the region, as the village was located on the confluence of two major Native American travel routes, the Mohawk Trail and the Connecticut River.  Diplomacy, marriage, trade and ceremonies had been held on the site for thousands of years.  In the spring, when the salmon and shad ran the river, Native people's from far and wide came to partake in the river's spectacular bounty.  It was precisely this traditional gathering that was attacked on May 19, 1676.