Native Memories

Native Memories

Saturday, March 4, 2023, 4:00 pm until 5:30 pm
Recovering Pocumtuck Histories in Franklin County. This Crossroads event is presented by New England Public Media. Free! All are welcome! No reservation required.

New England Public Media presents with the Nolumbeka Project, a talk with Dr. Margaret M. Bruchac (Nulhegan Abenaki), Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. Free Event. Native American memories and histories in the valley of the Kwinitekw (Connecticut River) are long and deep, tracing back to glacial times and marked by many, many generations. Native communities in the territories called Nonotuck (now Northampton and Hadley), and Pocumtuck (now Deerfield and Greenfield) were supported by reciprocal trade and diplomacy with their Native neighbors, including Abenaki to the north and Nipmuc to the east, among others. During the mid-1600s, the English colonists who came here survived by relying on Native ecological knowledges – maize horticulture, maple sugaring, seasonal fish runs, etc. – that became part of regional Yankee culture. Native leaders negotiated written documents that, they hoped, would preserve rights to hunt, fish, gather, plant, and live here in perpetuity. Yet, the increase in colonial settlement and colonial warfare forced the Native communities along the Kwinitekw (Connecticut River) to relocate. Even so, some Native families continued to travel familiar paths and waterways, setting up camps, marketing baskets and brooms, and dispensing Native medicines. During the 1800s, local historians across New England promoted the romantic stereotype of the “vanishing Indian,” despite the evidence of Native persistence. Native histories in Franklin County can be better understood by critically analyzing colonial documents, revisiting Indigenous landscapes, and otherwise dismantling myths and stereotypes that push Native people, then and now, into the vanished past.

“Crossroads: Change in Rural America” will be on view at the Great Falls Discovery Center, 2 Avenue A in Turners Falls from February 5 to March 18, 2023. The exhibition is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and Mass Humanities. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.

“Crossroads: Change in Rural America” is a collaboration between the Department of Conservation and Recreation, RiverCulture, the Friends of the Discovery Center, the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Montague Public Libraries, and New England Public Media. See the full calendar of events at


Special Thanks to Our Sponsors and Underwriters

Australis AquacultureArtisan Beverage CooperativeBenjamin CompanyBerkshire Brewing CompanyCohn and Company Real Estate AgencyCommunity CreditCommon CapitalCommunity Foundation of Western MassachusettsConnecticut River InternistsDean's BeansEasthampton Savings BankFirstLight GDF SueznaGill TavernGoff MediaGreat Falls HarvestGreen River FestivalGreenfield Community CollegeGreenfield Cooperative BankGreenfield Savings BankLootMassachusetts Cultural CouncilMontague WebWorksNortheast SolarPeople's PintRainmaker ConsultingThe RendezvousSolar Store of GreenfieldStobierski and ConnorTold VideoTrue North TransitTurn It Up

Special thanks to the Mass Cultural Council for their vital support this year in the form of a Cultural Sector Recovery Grant for Organizations, as well as a Festivals & Projects Grant. We'd also like to thank the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts for their support in the form of a Flexible Funding grant. We couldn't do this work without you!