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New Lights in the Dawnland

New Lights in the Dawnland In-Person

New Lights in the Dawnland” is a two hour audio documentary based on five individually recorded voices recounting 13,000 years of Indigenous history in what is now Northfield, Massachusetts, leading up to the arrival of English colonists in the 17th Century and the impacts of colonialism that followed. Replete with tribal songs, flute and drum interludes and ambient sounds, this conversational telling of the story creates its own imagery, reflected by the voices interwoven throughout from Rich Holschuh, David Brule, Joe Graveline, Doug Harris and Elnu Abenaki Chief Roger Longtoe Sheehan.

The five narrators featured here spoke from memory and the heart where memory dwells without notes or prior discussions as to the intended content of their testimonials. The five voices belong to old friends who have paid increasing collective attention to their own Indigenous culture and history, some having discovered tribal connections of their own later in life, and re-learning history from a Native viewpoint. Buttressed by a decade of archaeological research of their homelands and battlefields underwritten by the National Park Service, it is a study of the confluence of the focused efforts of the five in the service of wider understanding and inclusion – among themselves and non-Indigenous neighbors.

This production, then, has its roots both in studied intertribal memory and legend passed through a multigenerational conduit of oral tradition, as well as, more recently, the surfacing of old letters, diaries and other written colonial records reflecting firsthand, eyewitness observations and encounters with Native people. Its sources are also enriched through spiritual interaction with natural surroundings. This production does not purport to be a polished, or footnoted, scholarly, historical, rendering of Squakheag's past. Library bookshelves groan with Eurocentric studies which have long peddled destructive stereotypes and historical inaccuracies.

The response of these narrators is a passionate reaching out in search of balance and reciprocity in the telling of a shared past as a cornerstone to peace and reconciliation. It is dedicated to the life, accomplishments and speedy recovery of Doug Harris and his devoted new wife, Genevieve Frasier.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024
5:30pm - 7:50pm
Time Zone:
Eastern Time - US & Canada (change)
Community Meeting Room
  All Ages  

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