Thursday, January 23, 2014

Victory in Montague, Concerns Raised in Greenfield

Victory in Montague as Board of Selectman Supports Battlefield Grant Proposal!

After having been unilaterally removed--without explanation --from the agenda by Chairperson Mark Fairbrother the previous week, a widespread show of public support brought the application for a National Park Service Battlefield Grant back to the table for a successful conclusion at the January 13 meeting of Montague Board of Selectman.  In a 2-1 vote, the Town of Montague supported  moving forward with the application efforts coordinated by Nolumbeka Project board member David Brule.

If this grant is approved it will fund a detailed study of the events surrounding May 19, 1676, the night that a colonial militia led by Captain William Turner wiped out a camp of Native American non-combatants, mostly women, children and the elderly near the Great Falls.   As well as examining documentary records and archeological collections and using miltary terrain analysis to determine the sites of villages, battlefields, approaches and escape routes, the study will also include gathering the complete and unfiltered account of events from each Native American tribe in the region.

"History has always been written by the conquerors," points out Nolumbeka Project Senior Researcher Howard Clark.  "This will be the first time that a serious effort will be made to include the tribal perspective on these events."  This is crucial to developing a clearer and and less distorted account of our shared history.

The grant proposal also envisions the creation of a phased plan to protect the battlefield.  A decision by the National Park Service is expected in several months.

Native American Burial Ordinance On Hold after Meeting with Mayor

Even though a draft ordinance that could offer protection to the Ancestors at White Ash Swamp had been passed by Greenfield's Appointments and Ordinances Committee with its recommendation for passage by the entire Town Council, it appears that another approach has been proposed.   At a January 14 meeting attended by Mayor William Martin, Town Council President Mark Wisnewski, A&O Committee Chair David Singer, Narragansett Deputy Tribal Preservation Officer Doug Harris, and Nolumbeka Project's Joe Graveline and Howard Clark, a decision was made to create a Cemetary Commission charged with the protection of both Native American and abandoned colonial burial sites.

Although willing to see what this may look like, Graveline expressed concern.  "We are not going to let the protection of White Ash Swamp slip away here, " he said, claiming that the Nolumbeka Project must see some tangible action toward establishing the commission and clarifying its charge -- soon.  If not, he promised that Nolumbeka Project will re-double its efforts to have the original ordinance passed by the Town Council.

"Spring is coming.  We are running out of time." said Graveline. 

Please stay tuned for updates on this issue at Nolumbeka Now! (You can subscribe for email updates) 

or on the Nolumbeka Project Facebook Page.  (If you haven't yet, LIKE US!)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

New Year Opens with Challenges in Turners Falls, Greenfield, and Gill

National Park Service Battlefield Grant: 
The Battle Continues in Turners Falls on January 13

After having been unilaterally removed from the agenda of their previous meeting by Selectmen Chair Mark Fairbrother, the Montague Board of Selectman now plans to consider supporting an application for a grant to study the tragic events that occurred at the Great Falls in 1676 at their next meeting -- only two days before the deadline for it's submission!   A number of residents of Montague, including former Selectperson Patricia Allen,  have expressed dismay over Fairbrother's obstructionism. (See Greenfield Recorder, Battle or massacre? Turners delays vote on study grant proposal)

Originally brought forward by Narragansett tribal preservationist Doug Harris, this effort to receive National Park Service battlefield preservation funding is now being coordinated by Nolumbeka Project board member David Brule and has the support of the the Narragansett, Wampanoag and Nipmuck tribes, as well as the historical commissions of Gill and Greenfield and other groups.  The grant proposal calls for  documenting the complete and unfiltered view of events by the Native American tribes of the region, a much needed and long overdue perspective on the history of our region.

Nolumbeka Project encourages supporters to join us in a show of support:
Montague Board of Selectmen Meeting,  7 PM, Monday, January 13, at Town Hall, 1 Avenue A,
Turners Falls

Greenfield Native American Burial Ground Ordinance Moves Forward?

A revised draft of a ordinance to provide better protection for Native American burial and reburial sites in Greenfield will be the subject of a meeting between Nolumbeka Project President Joe Graveline, Narragansett Deputy Tribal Preservation Officer Doug Harris, Mayor William Martin, Town Council President Mark Wisnewski, and Councilor David Singer on Tuesday, January 14.
(Read Draft Ordinance)

Having received the full support of the town's Appointments and Ordinance Committee, it was originally anticipated that it will be on agenda of the full Town Council at their January meeting.  At this point it is unclear if this will actualy happen.  Please stay tuned for updates here at Nolumbeka Now! and on the Nolumbeka Project Facebook Page and be prepared to join us in a show of support at the Greenfield Town Council Meeting,  Wednesday, January 15, 7 PM, GCTV, 393 Main Street, Greenfield. 

Town of Gill Considers Solar Farm for Native Burial Site

Although a decision has been delayed because the developer isn't yet prepared to move forward, the Town of Gill is still considering a community solar development on the 12 acres of the Maramante property owned by the town -- a site that has been proven to include 280 burials in a region of Gill that research has shown to include Native American skeletal remains dating back thousands of years!

Please check in with Nolumbeka Now! and our Facebook Page for updates our effort to protect and preserve this important site.