Our New Campaign: The Re-Acquisition Of Original Nipmuc Land From Within The Nichewaug/Quabbin Bioregion

Help us secure original Nipmuc land for the construction of a Native American Cultural & Educational Center!


“Standing Rock is Everywhere!” and a cultural shift is underway, with a renewed awareness of the long history of abuse, broken treaties, and genocide perpetrated by colonial European culture over Native Americans has emerged. First Nation Peoples are bringing forth new and realistic endeavors to heal century-old conditions – Help today!

Please JOIN our crowdfunding campaign to purchase original Nipmuc land to create a Nipmuc Cultural & Education Center.

It is essential that marginalized communities be empowered to re-learn their culture and re-inhabit their native land. Today, The Nipmuk Cultural Preservation, Inc. is working to create a cultural and educational center in the Quabbin region – a land known to the Nipmuc a Nichewaug – to return vital education to its members and to teach their youth about what it means to be Nipmuc.

The first step to assuring that the culture of Native Americans of New England persists is to return selected landscapes to the original inhabitants, in this case, the Nipmuc Tribe, so that the lost culture can be restored through education, engagement programs and services, and place-based community initiatives within original landscapes.

The GOAL of this campaign is to raise $25,000 of the total project goal of $125,000 necessary to purchase a major portion of the John Seed Woods, a 35 +/- acre parcel of original Nipmuc territory at Earthlands, within the Nichewaug/Quabbin Bioregion in Petersham, Massachusetts.

Statement of Need:

Ownership of the John Seed Woods would enable the Nipmuk Cultural Preservation, Inc. (NCP) to fulfill the goals of the Conway School’s Nipmuc Community & Education Center Suitability Study conducted in 2017. This study provides a well-researched study of the land in question and master-planning of a year-round nature-based community building and landscape for native and non-native populations. An adjacent two-and one-half (2.5) acres that was transferred to the NCP in 2016 has enabled the Nipmuc to begin informal activities in the area, but was itself deemed not suitable for construction of a comprehensive Nipmuc Center as per the Conway School study.

 

Goals and Objectives of the Campaign:

The primary goals of the Nipmuc Community & Education Center Campaign are to:

  1. Funding. Secure non-profit donations and grants of $125,000
    for the NCP to purchase and take full title to a 35 +/-acre parcel of land;
  2. Education. Through public marketing campaigns and local
    community interactions and initiatives, educate the local and regional
    citizenry of the significant value and opportunity represented by Native
    American land ownership through their use and care of the property to
    educate and activate citizens; Original Nipmuc Land in Quabbin/Nichewaug Bioregion
  3. Implementation. Prepare for the implementation of Design and Construction ;phase of the Nipmuc Center. Once all acreage is held by the Nipmucs in-deed and right, the implementation plans will be executed to create*, including, but not limited to:
    1. Community buildings
    2. Ceremonial circles
    3. Longhouse
    4. Access & parking
    5. Agricultural/allotment gardens
    6. Outdoor classrooms
    7. Caretaker/guest facilities
    8. Utilities of compost toilets/waste management, water, and alternative energy.

*List from CSLD Plan

“…with the return of some of the original Nipmuc lands in Petersham, from our original village of Nichewaug, we are excited about creating a Nipmuc Cultural Education Center at Earthlands and to be involved in the Land Trust to protect the land in perpetuity.”
– Fred Freeman, Chair, Nipmuk Cultural Preservation Inc.

Nipmuc Cultural & Education Center

Members of the Nipmuc Tribe need a cultural and education center to gather, celebrate, share their culture, and renew their relationship with traditional lands. The Nipmuc believe that building a relationship with their traditional land, learning the unique stories of this landscape, and sharing their language is critical to the continuation of their way of life. Acquisition of the John Seed Woods would be a significant milestone towards making this cultural and education center a reality.


The Nipmuc Nation and the Chaubnunaugbungamung Band of Nipmuc Indians respectively have two community properties–the former Cisco residence in Hassanamessit (Grafton, MA) and the Chaubnunaugbungamung reserve (Thompson, CT)–that provide gathering places for limited activities and youth education.  However, members of the tribe feel that these existing properties of 2.5 acres or less within urban areas inherently cannot provide sufficient access to natural landscapes to more comprehensively allow Nipmuc culture and language to be brought to life. The properties do not have sufficient space or flexibility to permit the full breadth of cultural practices that constitute the traditional Nipmuc way of life. Tribal activities like Pow-Wows, gardening, craft-making, celestial navigation and youth education are enriched by directly accessing larger contiguous ancestral lands, such as would be possible at the John Seed Woods parcel. It is also important for the Nipmuc to have a place in common that for all Nipmuc to gather equally, regardless of band affiliation.

Working closely with University of Massachusetts Amherst architecture professor Ray Mann and her students, members of the Nipmuc tribe have articulated their needs for the physical structure. The building includes a craft work space, a youth education room, an elder gathering room, bathrooms, kitchen, storage, and spaces for larger indoor and sheltered outdoor gatherings. Additionally, the building is designed to have little negative impact on the environment: techniques include the harvest of rainwater, inclusion of solar composting toilets, rainwater harvesting and stormwater management around parking areas, and the cultivation of native, culturally significant plants. Developed integrally with students from the Conway School, the suitability study found that there are feasible locations within the John Seeds Woods to site built structures, parking, outdoor classrooms, educational gardens, and space for pow-wows.

“…we must protect sacred ceremonial landscapes so that present and future generations of Native Americans and non-natives can re-learn the wisdom teachings of the land.”
– Doug Harris, Massachusetts Sacred Ceremonial Landscape Officer

 

To make a Tax-Exempt Donation go to: www.wuofwild.org
OR Mail your Donation to:
Nipmuc Project, ECLT, 73 Glasheen Road, Petersham, MA 01366

Thank you!