Thursday, October 29, 2015

Third Annual
Beaver Moon Gathering
Saturday, November 21
12-3 PM
Great Falls Discovery Center
2 Avenue A
Turners Falls, MA

Billy Myers will be the featured speaker at the third annual Beaver Moon Gathering  on Saturday, November 21, noon – 3 p.m., at the Great Falls Discovery Center, 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA.  Suggested donation $2 - $5.

A brief opening focused on “Giving Thanks” will begin at noon, followed by the keynote presentation by Billy "Iahteho:tas” Myers of the Kanien' ke'ha (Mohawk) Bear Clan. He will talk about the challenges faced by American Indians in the 21st century while remaining connected to their nation, history, ceremony and commitment to the environment. He will also share his experiences in activism, education and tolerance while touring the country, and the experiences with many Native nations, including issues with resources, alcoholism, and death rates on various reservations. Myers is a Professional Conservator/Artist/ Musician and Touring drummer for Gary Farmer, actor, musician, and activist.

The gathering is named in honor of the full moon on November 25. Traditionally, this full moon marked the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze to ensure a supply of warm winter furs.
Co-sponsored by 
Nolumbeka Project  ( 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Hello Everyone,

Now that our biggest public event, the Pocumtuck Homelands Festival, is over we continue the work of the Nolumbeka Project in multiple ways.

First, I'd like to call your attention to the event hosted by the Battlefield Grant Advisory Board coming up this Saturday, September 19, at the Turners Falls High School.

Nolumbeka Project Board Members David Brule, Howard Clark and Joe Graveline have been active participants in this exciting project unfolding at the Great Falls. 

You can read about it in an excellent article, "A fair understanding: mapping the Battle of Great Falls" by Aviva Luttrell @ the Greenfield Recorder ( Click to read).  This promises to be an interesting and informative meeting.

I​n addition to the event on Saturday we will be at the North Quabbin Garlic & Arts Festival on September 26 - 27. We're bringing a raffle of items generously donated to us by the festival vendors.

Also, mark your calendars now for the annual Beaver Moon Gathering on November 21. We will keep you posted about these events and others that will likely come up.

As summer comes to a close, the Wissatinnewag circle gardens are flourishing under the care of Brent Pitcher. The crops include a traditional three sisters garden, ceremonial tobacco and white sage. Historical research is continuing and a team has been out in the field monitoring sites that may be culturally significant to the Natives in an effort to document and protect them.

In addition, we find ourselves busy with day to day organizational tasks such as maintaining the data base, paying bills, and trying to manifest ideas to keep the non-profit afloat financially.

As always your past, current and future help in this valuable work is appreciated.
Diane Dix, for the Nolumbeka Project Board

Look for our table there!

Thursday, July 9, 2015


Black Hawk Singers to Perform
AUGUST 1, 2015
11 AM - 7 PM


The Pocumtuck Homelands Festival returns to Unity Park Waterfront in Turners Falls, MA, on Saturday, August 1, from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.  Sponsored by the Nolumbeka Project and Turners Falls RiverCulture, this free all day celebration of Native American culture and history will include live music, drumming, dancing, storytelling, traditional children’s games, children’s crafts ($2 materials fee), educational talks, primitive skills demonstrations, and a wide array of vendors of Native American arts and crafts.

Loril MoonDream and Medicine Mammals Singers
The Festival’s music this year will feature Cheyenne flute player Joseph FireCrow.  Considered one of the top three Native American flute players in the world today, FireCrow will present two sets of his award-winning music and stories on the riverfront stage,  along with returning favorites the Medicine Mammals Singers, led by Loril MoonDream (Apache).  The Abenaki group Black Hawk Singers, who celebrate their tribal spirit through traditional and new songs, and, for the second year, the popular Visioning B.E.A.R. Intertribal Singers, will set up their powwow drums under the trees along the banks of the river.

As well as demonstrations of traditional native skills by Neill Boivaird of Wolf Tree Programs, this year’s educational offerings will include two half hour historical presentations by the Nolumbeka Project’s David Brule, and Nipmuc Tribal Council Member David Tall Pine White on the significance to the Native Americans of the Great Falls/Peskeompskut-Wissatinnewag/Unity Park area. For the first time, Dr. Kevin McBride and Mary and James Gage will be present and share their expertise in the fields of pre-contact and contact period (1600s) New England archaeology/anthropology and Native American/colonial artifacts and historic stone structures identification. They will be available to interpret and analyze the significance of any artifacts or photographs that festival goers bring to their booths during the day. 

Other attractions during this day long event include an authentic wigwam, a birch bark canoe, tipis, and a concession serving Native American fare.  As always, the Pocumtuck Homelands Festival is free and open to all.  Unity Park is handicapped accessible.

2015 Pocumtuck Homelands Festival Schedule
(Parking Map Below)

11 – 11:15 a.m.—Opening ceremony

11:15 – 1:30 p.m. - Black Hawk Singers and Visioning B.E.A.R. Singers

11:30 to 12:15 -   Story telling at tipi

Noon – 12:30 p.m. –   Brief Native American History lesson, 
David Brule and David Tall Pine White

12:30 – 1:15 p.m.   -   Children’s crafts at tipi ($2 fee)

1:30 – 2:15 p.m. - Joseph FireCrow

2:30 – 3:15 pm. - Medicine Mammals Singers

3:15 – 3:45 -   Friendship Dances  led by Loril Moondream and Medicine Mammals Singers

3:45 – 4:15 p.m. – Brief Native American History lesson, David Brule and David TallPine White

4:00 – 4:45 Story telling at tipi

4:00 p.m.   – 5:15 p.m. - Black Hawk Singers and Visioning B.E.A.R. Singers

5:15 – 5:45 p.m. - Medicine Mammals Singers

6:00 – 6:45 p.m. – Joseph FireCrow

6:45 – 7:00 p.m. – Closing Ceremony

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Spirited Gathering Commemorates the Tragedy of May 19, 1676

(Posted by Diane Dix on Facebook on May 17)

Yesterday's event was meaningful and well attended. We give thanks for the beautiful weather, the river, the birds, to all who showed up for the ceremony and later for the walk. Strong Oak's words made a tremendous impression on people and Loril Moondream's Apache chant was very powerful. 

If anyone took photos and is willing to share we would love to post them. The ceremony, drumming and spoken word segment was filmed by MCTV volunteers. Thank you! And Lance Smith, Nolumbeka Project website manager, and Karen Miller from GCTV, filmed the walk. It must have been very interesting because people stayed until after dark to hear more from Howard, Joe and David. We will let everyone know when these videos are available for viewing

Monday, May 4, 2015

Third Annual Great Falls Commemoration Ceremony on May 16

(Due to circumstances beyond our control (major road work at the intersection near the entrance to the Wissatinnewag site) we decided, for safety reasons, to postpone the previously announced gathering of stones for our prayer mound until another time.  The rest of the activities will take place as planned.)

Reconciliation Ceremony, 2004 (photo courtesy Doug Brown)
The 3rd Annual Great Falls Commemoration Ceremony will take place in Turners Falls on Saturday, May 16.  The gathering,  co-sponsored by the Nolumbeka Project and Turners Falls RiverCulture, will this year be part of a larger, all day event, River’s Song. The Nolumbeka Project events will be held at the River Tent at Unity Park: 
 1:00 – 1:30 p.m.    Commemoration Ceremony;  
1:30 – 2:30 p.m   Visioning B.E.A.R. Singers; 
2:30 – 3:00 p.m.   River Stories in Poetry and Song 
with David Brule and others.

This part of the Connecticut River is spiritually an exceptional location and the historical significance for the indigenous peoples of the Northeast is well-documented.  For millennia the area of Great Falls (Peskeompskut) and Wissatinnewag (Shining Hill) was a gathering place for numerous Northeastern tribes during the fish runs and served as a place where diplomacy and peace prevailed. That ended 339 years ago on May 19, 1676 with the infamous massacre. Unity Park is where, 11 years ago on May 19, 2004, the Reconciliation Ceremony was held between the Town of Montague and the Narragansett to “begin to put the traumatic echoes of the past to rest".  The ceremony will honor and recognize both events and feature music from Nolumbeka Project president Joe Graveline and Loril Moondream and guest speakers.

If you missed the remarkable River Walk on May 2 walk, here’s another chance: from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. that evening ( May 16)  David Brule will lead a  walk on the Unity Park bike path and talk about 10,000 years of Native American presence near the Great Falls.  It involves leisurely walking along paved bike path for 1-1.5 miles. It is accessible to all; dogs on leashes welcome. 

We are seeking volunteers for this event and other Nolumbeka Project activities!
Please e-mail for a volunteer form.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


The River Walk:
Native American History
Saturday, May 2: 10 AM - 12 PM 
Unity Park
Turners Falls, MA

Join us for The River Walk to learn about 10,000 years of Native American presence near the Great Falls.  The walk, sponsored by the Nolumbeka Project and Connecticut River Watershed Council, involves leisurely walking along paved bike path for 1-1.5 miles. 

Learn from and speak to experts in the Native American history of this area, a history which included the Turners Falls massacre in 1676 during King Phillips War. 

The guides will be Nolumbeka Project Board members David Brule, Howard Clark, and Joe Graveline.  Collectively they share about one hundred years of information reconstructed through research, observations, insight, education, explorations, field work and associations, which illuminates the little known history of the early Native American culture of the Northeast. All three work closely with the Narragansett Indian Tribal Historic Preservation Office and monitor local Native American/American Indian sacred sites

Brule, of Narragansett and Nehantic descent, is the coordinator of the newly awarded National Park Service Battlefield Protection Program whose goal is to identify the likely locations of the King Phillip’s War (1675-76) Peskeomskut (Turners Falls) Battlefield and associated sites, including the Native American community Peskeomskut-Wissatinnewag. This is in partnership with an archaeologist, town historic commissions, and members of four New England tribes.  

Clark has Cherokee roots and his extensive research into the Native history of this area revealed the prime importance of Great Falls as a gathering place for many Northeastern tribes during the fish runs.  The Great Falls Massacre on May 19, 1676 was a turning point in the King Philip’s War. Clark was instrumental in securing protection for the land across the river, Wissatinnewag, and was a signer of the Reconciliation Agreement between the Town of Turners Falls and the Narragansett tribe at Unity Park on May 19, 2004.

Graveline, Nolumbeka Project president, is descended from Cherokee and Abenaki and began learning about the native culture from his mother at a young age. He specializes in presenting the unrepresented Indian side of American history.  He was one of the organizers of the Reconciliation Agreement; and of the Peoples Harvest Native American cultural celebration that took place on the Banks of the Connecticut River in Gill, MA in 2005 and 2006. 

Although the river has gone through many changes, the history remains and much will be revealed and explained during the walk. The guides will also offer a “geological primer” and give an overview of 345 million years history how the land was formed. 

Early May is a prime time for this event, before the leaves fully cover the trees. From across the river the serpentine trails down the hill from the Wissatinnewag land to the fishing stations below will still be visible.  A map will be provided to help identify some of these features during the walk.  Binoculars might be helpful, not just to see the sights but there will likely be migrating waterfowl and the occasional eagle. 

Meet at the Unity Park Bike Path gravel parking area on 1st Street in Turners Falls.  Accessible to all.  Dogs on leases welcome.  Free.  (donations appreciated)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Great Falls/ Wissatinnewag-Peskeomskut Battlefield Study Meeting in Turners Falls March 14

Thanks to All for a Successful Soup and Games Night

Many thanks from the Board of the Nolumbeka Project to everyone who helped make the March 2nd Free Soup and Games Night benefit a success.

We extend our sincere gratitude to Jim Zaccara and staff of Hope & Olive restaurant for opening their doors to this fundraising opportunity and for helping us in many other ways.

We especially thank the businesses which contributed delicious soups and breads to us: Bread Euphoria, Clay Oven, Diemand Farms, Franklin County Technical School, Frosted, Green Fields Market, Magpie, Mesa Verde, Peoples Pint, Rendezvous, and the Wagon Wheel. We had a wonderful array of desserts thanks, in part, to donations from Apex Orchards, Megahn Carr, Hazel Dawkins, Shirl Majewski, and Elyssa Serrilli. 

Among our most popular raffle items were gift certificates from Foster’s Super Market, Big Y, an arrowhead made by Neill Bovaird of Wolf Tree programs, beads made by Mary Wheelan, and a half hour massage with hot stones from Rachel E. Arnold, LMT. 

We are so grateful to the volunteers who helped throughout the evening: Dan Dickinson and his friend Amy, Ericalyn Farnham, Theresa Scheutze, Kelsey Shafer, Lance Smith, Dianne Supler, and Michael Van Camp. And a big thanks to WRSI and Monte for the helping to spread the word.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Join Us For Free Soup and Games Night
Next Monday!

Hope & Olive
44 Hope Street
March 2, 5-7:30 PM

Nolumbeka Project 
is the beneficiary of the March
Free Soup and Games night.

Raffle - Desserts - More


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"The Language Belongs to the Land Itself"

Full Snow Moon Gathering Features Interactive Presentation by David Tall Pine White on the Nipmuc Presence and Persistence in Southern New England 

Saturday, February 21, 1-3 PM, 
Great Falls Discovery Center, 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA
Doors open at 12:30

David Tall Pine White
David Tall Pine White, Tribal Council Vice-President of the Chaubunagungamaug Band of Nipmuck Indians and a language consultant and actor in the 2009 PBS series "We Shall Remain", offers a two hour interactive presentation "The Language Belongs to the Land Itself" on the Nipmuck Presence and Persistence in Southern New England at the Full Snow Moon Gathering, Great Falls Discovery Center, 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA, Saturday, February 21, 1-3 PM.

A community activist and teacher of Nipmuc language, history and culture, White states "There's a lot of wisdom and knowledge in Our language. Based on the observations of nature over thousands of years, it shows how our surroundings are alive and an important part of life itself. It teaches an appreciation and purpose of each living thing."

The Full Snow Moon is the name given by the tribes of the Northeast to the full moon of February, a month when heavy snows are common. It was also known as the Hungry Moon by some tribes because of the harshness of the weather and lack of game.  The Full Snow Moon Gathering on February 21 joins the Great Falls Massacre Commemoration, Pocumtuck Homelands Festival and Beaver Moon Gathering in a series of cultural events celebrating Native American history and culture to be presented in Turners Falls during 2015.

The event, co-sponsored by Nolumbeka Project and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, is free and open to the public.  Doors open at 12:30. Reasonable accommodations are available upon request.  Light refreshments will be provided.


Thanks to Roberto Mighty, MFA, for the use of this video, produced as part of First Contact, an immersive digital multimedia art exhibit about the roles of Christianity, Indigenous Spirituality, and land use in 17th century central Massachusetts.

Roberto received his Master of Fine Arts in the Visual Arts from Lesley University and his BA in History from Boston University; and is currently Adjunct Professor in the Department of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College, and a lecturer in narrative cinematography, documentary filmmaking and digital editing at Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts.
An immersive digital multimedia art exhibit about the roles of Christianity,

David Tall Pine White 
and Nolumbeka Project
Board Member David Brule were interviewed by reporter Cory Urban for her advance feature on this Saturday's
Full Snow Moon Gathering. 
The article appears on MASS LIVE and slated to be published in the Springfield Republican this week.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Nolumbeka Project President Joe Graveline To Be Panelist at Mt. Toby Peace and Social Concerns Film Event

“Guswenta: Renewing the Two Row Wampum Treaty”
Thursday, February 12, 
7:00 P.M.
Mt. Toby Friends Meetinghouse
194 Long Plain Road, Leverett, MA 

“Guswenta: Renewing the Two Row Wampum Treaty” is an 33-minute, award-winning documentary by Gwendolen Cates, featuring stunning footage from the 28 - day paddling journey from the Onondaga Nation to the United Nations during the summer of 2013, along with powerful words from Haudenosaunee leaders, including Onondaga Faithkeeper, Oren Lyons, Onondaga Clan Mother, Freida Jacques, Mohawk Spiritual Leader, Tom Porter, Tadodaho Sid Hill and non-native allies. 
The film inspires us to consider our collective responsibility 400 + years after the Two Row Wampum Treaty was agreed upon by Dutch Colonists and representatives of Haudenosaunee tribes. 
Following the film, 
a panel discussion will be moderated by paddler, 
Beth Adams of the 
Mt. Toby Peace and Social Concerns Committee. 
Panelists are: Don Campbell from Mt. Toby, Two-Row participant, Karen Nylander from Amherst, Native New York paddler, Dennis Willard, New York Quaker paddler, Buffy Curtis, and Joe Graveline, Nolumbeka Project
This event is the second this year in the Mt. Toby Peace and Social Concerns Committee film series . 
All welcome!