Though the Commonwealth of MA formally recognizes Columbus Day, many other state governments, and many MA municipalities, now recognize the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples Day. Legislation filed by Senator Comerford is currently moving through the legislature to formally recognize Indigenous Peoples Day in the MA General Laws.
We stand committed to acknowledging the perspectives and experiences of Indigenous communities. We recognize that Columbus’s arrival in the Americas marked a turning point in history, impacting the lives of Indigenous peoples in profound ways.
We encourage our colleagues, friends, and neighbors in Franklin County to take this opportunity to learn more about the cultures, traditions, and histories of the indigenous peoples who called this local land home.
Some of the websites we are taking note of that speak to local history, coming events, and opportunities to learn, engage, and support include:
Ohketeau Cultural Center
Ohketeau means ‘a place to plant and grow’ in the Nipmuc language, and it is the only Native founded and run cultural center in all of Central and Western Massachusetts. Since 2017, their work has focused on uplifting the voices of Native peoples and dismantling unjust frameworks, replacing them with accessibility, equity, dignity, and wellness for Native communities. They strive to illuminate the work of Indigenous artists, ancestors, culture-bearers, and activists, thereby expanding the Non-Native audience’s worldviews.
The Nolumbeka Project, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the history of Native Americans/American Indians of New England through educational programs, art, history, music, heritage seed preservation and cultural events. They are actively building, maintaining and expanding an historical archive research library for use by the Tribes and Educators of the Northeast and beyond.
Town of Shutesbury Native American Cultural Resources Page
The Shutesbury Historical Commission maintain a webpage of Native American Cultural Resources that includes Government Resources, Research and Preservation Efforts, Tribal Resources, and a Recommended Bibliography.
Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians
Despite tremendous hardship in being forced from our region, today the Mohican community resides in Wisconsin and is known as the Stockbridge-Munsee Community. The Tribe maintains a historic preservation office in western Massachusetts to represent its interest in ancestral places throughout the northeast (https://www.mohican.com/services/cultural-services/historic-preservation/).
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Commission on Indian Affairs (MCIA) was created by the legislature in 1974. The Commission is governed by M.G.L. Chapter 6A: Section 8A.
The Commission website includes information on current Commission members, meeting notices and minutes, tuition and scholarship information, and many links regarding Native American tribes and resources.