Indigenous History

Originally written for Peak Weekend 2016

This weekend, we are celebrating Indigenous People’s Day. This day acknowledges the role Tufts University has in the settler colonialism of Wampanoag and Narragansett peoples on Tufts’ Medford/Somerville campuses, and the Abenaki in the White Mountains. Settler colonialism is when a group of people move in and claim land that was already inhabited by others, usually Indigenous peoples.

The members of the Tufts Mountain Club are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to enjoy the White Mountains of New Hampshire; however, it is important on this day and every day to remember that they belong to many people. The specific region where the Loj is located belongs to the Abenaki people. Legally, the Loj, which has been a home away from home for many students, is sitting on land which is no longer federally recognized as the home of the Abenaki.

The Abenaki are a native tribe that has lived in what is now New England and Quebec, and their name means “people of the east”. There are four federally recognized tribes in Vermont, and several other still unrecognized groups (for an interesting story, check out this article http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/2016/09/04/missisquoi-abenaki-vermont-recognition/87535022/) In New Hampshire, although a bill was proposed in 2010, there is still no federal recognition for New Hampshire Abenaki, the largest tribe in the state.

On Saturday, TMC will try to put one of its members on top of every peak over 4,000 ft in the White Mountains. This is an incredible opportunity for our community to achieve a great physical feat, come together at the Loj, and see the beauty of the land around us. It is also an opportunity to acknowledge that we are one of many who have seen these sights, and that our privilege to enjoy them is not universal. 
For more information on the Abenaki tribe of New Hampshire or if you have any thoughts on how we should continue the discussion about indigenous land and TMC’s implication in this, please email historian@tuftsmountainclub.org.

Additional Resources:

http://digital.vpr.net/post/what-status-abenaki-native-americans-vermont-today#stream