The Hassanamesit Reservation is a special place for Indigenous people in Massachusetts, especially those belonging to the Nipmuc tribe and those with Nipmuc ancestry. It is the only place in Massachusetts that has never been owned or stewarded by anyone other than Indigenous people. In the Nipmuc language, or N & L-dialect Algonquin, Hassanamesit means “place of small stones” – named for its rocky soil. … Continue reading Hassanamesit

James the Printer

James was born Wawaus around 1640 in Hassanamesit, one of many Nipmuc villages that existed before contact with the English Puritans and still exists today. He was the son of Naoas, a leader at Hassanamisco during colonization. Even though Hassanamesit was a matriarchal society, the name of Wawaus’ mother was not recorded. At age 5, Wawaus went to live with an English family. In Indigenous … Continue reading James the Printer

Milkweed Processing

Last month, with the help of many others, I extracted fibers from milkweed stalks to use in weaving projects. The stalks were harvested between late October and early January from various places, including my yard. One should wait until the stalks are black before harvesting. For some reason, the milkweed stalks in my yard didn’t blacken until January, when I finally cut them down. I … Continue reading Milkweed Processing

The House in which my Enslaved Ancestors Lived – maybe.

On a recent trip to Fishkill, NY, we visited the Garret Storm house. Rumor has it that our ancestor, Primus Storms, was enslaved by the Storm family. There is even a “Storm Slave Cemetery” in Fiskkill said to contain about 100 free and enslaved African-Americans connected to the Storm family and their neighbors. You can read about our visit to the cemetery here. Garrit (the … Continue reading The House in which my Enslaved Ancestors Lived – maybe.

What is Rematriation?

In what is now called New England, some centuries ago, European invaders disrupted our relationship with our homelands. They removed us from our lands, prevented access to crucial medicines, and eliminated and polluted our water sources. No longer living in relationship with the land, we lost its teachings. The invaders also reorganized our social systems into replicas of their patriarchal system. Our people lost knowledge, … Continue reading What is Rematriation?

Syrups & Elixirs & Tonics, part 1

Syrups, elixirs, and tonics are my favorite herbal preparations to make and gift. I also keep a few on hand for myself. This is how I define these three concoctions. Syrup – Made with herbs, water, and sugar (or honey) Elixir – Made with herbs, honey (or maple syrup), and alcohol Tonic – Made with herbs, honey, and vinegar. Making a Syrup There are endless … Continue reading Syrups & Elixirs & Tonics, part 1