Nolumbeka Project and Adventure East Land Acknowledgment
“Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer, PhD
As an outdoor adventure outfitter, we are stewards of the local lands where we work. We also work closely with organizations whose mission is to preserve and protect these lands and waters. Over the course of the short history of Adventure East, we have grown to appreciate and respect the Indigenous peoples who are here today and have been stewards of these lands for thousands of years.
For the past two summers we have worked with the Nolumbeka Project on their Pocumtuck Homelands Festival and the mishoon (a traditional dug-out canoe) paddle with generous support from the Connecticut River Conservancy. Adventure East provides free access to canoes and kayaks and also provides safety guides. The mishoon paddle on Barton Cove is the kick-off event for the Pocumtucks Homelands Festival and brings together a community of local paddlers. The first festival paddle was in 2020 in celebration of the launch of the Nolumbeka Project mishoon. The funds were raised by Nolumbeka, through both public and private organizations and was constructed by a crew of Aquinnah Wampanoag, Narragansett, and Abenaki (Enjoy a video of the first launch!). This year, I was particularly moved when we were joined by a second dugout canoe constructed in 2021 at the Ohketeau Cultural Center in Ashfield. I learned that it was the first time in more than three hundred years that a mishoon from the Nipmuc/k tribe had floated on the waters in the area that is now Barton Cove. It was an honor to be part of and to have supported, in a very small way, this most historic event.
Each year during the mishoon paddle, local tribal and non-tribal paddlers stop for a time on the banks of the Connecticut river to share and acknowledge the history of the surrounding lands and waters. Participants learn from local Indigenous peoples who share traumas suffered, both personally, and by those who once lived and gathered at the great falls. They share the history of the natural abundance of the region and the history that their ancestors traveled here, for millennia, in peace, to participate in the shad and salmon runs.
As Kimmerer ponders, “if much that ails our society stems from the fact that we have allowed ourselves to be cut off from that love of, and from, the land," we would be wise to take to heart her prescription that this connection “is medicine for broken land and empty hearts.”
We are very grateful for David Brule, President of the Nolumbeka Project, for his support in developing the following land acknowledgement statement that will guide Adventure East, as stewards, as we share our love for the earth and its love for us, in all that we do. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Nolumbeka Project working together to offer educational experiences that include Indigenous culture and history that will be guided by Nolumbeka staff and Native educators.
Nolumbeka Project and Adventure East Land Acknowledgement
“We must acknowledge that we are occupying and benefiting from this Indigenous land upon which we stand, upon which our personal homes and businesses are located.
In addition to the land, we also acknowledge the beautiful rivers that are part of Indigenous homelands: the Pocumtuck (Deerfield), the Pocomegon (Green) the Paguag (Millers), the Chicopee, and of course the long river, the Quonektacut.
For thousands of years this has been the traditional territory of the Pocumtuck people and their Indigenous kin and neighbors: the Nonotuck/Norwottock, the Agawam, the Woronoco, the Tunxis and the Podunk among many others.
This is still the homelands of the Pocumtuck, and neighbors, they are not gone, they are in the air that we breathe, their voices linger in the landscape and riverscape.
We acknowledge the continued presence, resilience, and sovereignty of their descendants the Nipmuc/k and the Abenaki. We will continue to acknowledge and support all Indigenous communities in our activities upon this land and upon these waters.”
With great appreciation,