My Soul Knows You

My Heart stings, thinking of You

The pain is deep and soon forgettable

Buried beneath work and family

Time to move forward

Pushing through Rejection.


Thoughts drift toward you and

Are quickly brushed away

Like snow on my windshield

As I drive through the day.


At night it’s more difficult

As dreams turn to you

As I awake I push

Them aside and move

Forward away from You.



How Hard is Hard?

Everything in my life is hard now. Dealing with my daughters and grandsons is hard now. Dealing with fear-filled council members is hard now. Getting money for the Museum is hard now. Dealing with a loco “friend” is hard now. My blood pressure is out of control and I really need to chill out but I am surrounded. So what can I change? Absolutely nothing except myself. I really need to walk away from all tribal stuff. The council is failing, completely failing and taking the tribe with them. I have tried unsuccessfully to move things forward but….

Time for me to walk away. I love the Museum and all it could be. But my dream of it becoming the center of learning for my People will never be. At least not as long as those in charge continue to live in fear. Fear of what they never had being taken away. Fear of the empty blue chairs they preach to now becoming more empty. Even the Unity movement has become a race to get “stuff” before the Nipmuc Nation does. It’s all a competition and I no longer wish to compete.

The Used-to-Be Woods Across the Street.

Most folks that know me know that I’ve been mourning the loss of trees in the woods around my neighborhood for quite awhile.

Lately, though I’ve seen evidence that when something is taken away, something else is given. Where trees once stood, fields of plants abound. Seeds that lay dormant in the soil for who knows how many decades have given birth to a huge variety of flowers, herbs, and grasses.

I walk the dog in this used-to-be woods. Many of the plants now growing I don’t recognize. I keep forgetting the camera so I can take pictures and research those plants. I did find a bunch of mullein. The plants are much bigger than I’ve ever seen so I’m not 100% sure that they are mullein. But if so, then my mom and I wont have to make any more trips to the herb store this year.

Cattail grows in the wet areas. I hope to harvest loads this fall to use to cover the wetu on the rez. The USDA did plant some blueberry bushes and lots of non-indigenous shrubs and trees. There is a beautiful witch hazel shrub/tree that keeps calling my name. I guess we’ll have some tonic soon.

While I miss the coolness and beauty of the trees, I am appreciative of the life now in my midst. If only I’d thought to ask the USDA to plant some sweetgrass….


Shelve the Haters

last week, someone told me to put a particularly troublesome person on a shelf and to not give any of my energy to that person again. and I fully intend to do that – after I write this.

there are those who think that being a council member gives you the right to be not only respected but worshipped by the people. that’s not true. respect is earned, a true leader doesn’t sit around expecting people to admire them. a true leader works their ass off for the people without any expectation of a reward. a true leader puts the needs of the people first, not their own arrogant egos.

there is a council member that I do not get along with. and I mean that we do not agree on anything. however, I cannot deny that he is a leader to our people. he gives of his own time and money to keep our office open and usable. when a request is made of him, he grants it. the things he does are not always to my liking but then he doesn’t exist to please me. would I go to lunch with him? no- not likely. but I cant deny that he has the best interests of our people at heart.

regarding a different council member, should respect be given to council members who do not contribute positively to the people? who listen to and support those who would do the people harm? who brag about what they’ve have done elsewhere but can’t assist their own? who tear down what others do simply because they don’t like who is doing it?

for those who serve, such behavior is tiresome to say the least. but I doubt it will stop those who truly care from moving forward or from continuing to assist whenever possible.

that council member that I don’t get along with? part of our problem is that we don’t trust each other and because of that we will never see the other’s path. and in general, people don’t support what they can’t see. so I wont support what he does and he wont support me. and the people lose out.

so now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I will put the energy-sucking council member on the shelf and maybe think about asking the other council member to coffee (well – I already said lunch was out!)

Hmmm…What shall I write about?

There is so much going on in Nipmuc country right now. I can’t decide what to write about. Things are moving forward with the Museum restoration, the Museum has a new Strategic Plan that hopefully the committee will vote to accept, we are starting a new Language Class at the tribal office, ….plus some other stuff. And I am only thinking of what’s happening within the Hassanamisco Band. I have no idea what’s happening with the other Bands.

Ha! I do have a topic. Transparency. I am all for transparency within a group. I think its important for all members of a group to share and understand information so that all of us can make informed decisions. Especially when those decisions affect all members of the group.

I also believe that confidentiality is important. And in small, close-knit groups like a Band or clan, confidentiality is essential whether its family information or political discussion.

When in an effort to be “transparent”, a person betrays (yes, I feel that strongly) their Band by divulging confidential information to people outside of the group, well that person should no longer have access to confidential information. It doesn’t matter if it’s email, meeting minutes, financial records, grant info, or someone’s personal genealogy. Nor does it matter who was told.

All officer’s and employees of the Nipmuc Nation are supposed to sign confidentiality agreements. Those agreements should be honored. And even if agreements were not signed, where is your honor? Your integrity? Why violate the trust placed upon you by those who voted for you?

OK, so…enough preaching, time for a disclaimer. These comments are mine and mine alone. They are general statements and not intended to single out any one person. If someone feels like these comments may pertain to him/her, then they should search their own soul.

Aquene !

Strategic Planning

The Museum has a proposed Strategic Plan that I hope will be adopted by the Museum Committee. It’s posted below the break. First, here is the Museum’s mission:

Mission Statement: To perpetuate the arts, crafts, and way of life of New England’s Indigenous Peoples; preserve the culture and history of indigenous people, particularly that of the Nipmuc Indian; and preserve and protect the unique character of the historic structure known as the Homestead and the artifacts housed within.

And Vision Statement:

Vision Statement: To serve as a focal point and gathering place for Nipmucs and their families to learn of our culture and history and to practice integrating our traditional values, technologies and wisdom into our contemporary lives.

Hassanamisco Indian Museum – Strategic Plan

To achieve its mission, attain its vision, and align with the Nipmuc Nation long-term goals, the Museum identified as its primary goal –

Preserve and perpetuate the culture and history of the Nipmuc tribe through a solid programmatic and physical foundation.

Strategy One: Renovation of the Homestead and the Museum’s organizational structure.

The Homestead will reopen with modern facilities, climate-controlled display, exhibit, and storage areas, office space, and a gathering space for tribal classes, workshops and functions. Concurrently, the Museum will build the capacity of the Museum’s board, staff and volunteers to achieve Museum’s goals

  • Complete the planning, restoration of historic portion of building, and the renovation of the modern-day addition.
  • Reorganize and strengthen the Museum’s organizational structure.
  • Achieve fiscal sustainability through sound fiscal planning and aggressive fund-raising.

Strategy Two: Preserve and conserve the Museum’s collections.

The Museum will institute formal policies to conserve the Museum’s collection. The Nipmuc Community will develop a sense of ownership and stewardship in the Museum and its collections.

  • Conserve, inventory and catalog the Museum’s collections.
  • Store and exhibit collections appropriately.

Strategy Three: Develop, promote, and implement programming for the Nipmuc community and the public.

Through the teachings of Elders and tradition-keepers, the Museum will work with the Nipmuc tribe to ensure the transference of traditional knowledge to the next generation. The Museum will continue to improve existing school, scout, and camp programs for the public.

  • Develop Tribal-based educational programs and workshops.
  • Re-invest in the Nipmuc Homelands.
  • Strengthen relationships between Museum and Nipmuc people.
  • Expand and Improve website capabilities.
  • Design and implement a comprehensive marketing program.

What do you think?


***Please note that the image above is from traditional Nipmuc and/or Mohegan woodsplint baskets, Credit for the image goes to “Key into the Language of Woodsplint Baskets” by Ann McMullen, Russell G. Handsman, and Joan A. Lester. Published in 1987 by American Indian Archaeological Institute.