Some key concepts: Oral history, recorded history, written history, point of view, indigenous, sacred
Overview: Joe Graveline and David Brule help us understand: Before “Greenfield” who was here? What did the landscape look like? Who is here today descended from original inhabitants of the Connecticut River Valley? How can we learn more?
“If you want to be rich, be rich in the mind and the heart and you are sitting on top of the world, and when you walk through history and you be rich like that, God! I say, How blessed can a person be? To learn, to learn, to learn, to listen! And realize that we are here because of a thousand generations before us. And they had lives to live and they had stories to tell.” – Joe Graveline
“I always tell people, ‘You’ve got to learn the Indian names of those rivers because they will answer to their names.’ And that’s part of what we’re doing is trying to learn those names.” – David Brule
- What can we learn from the lives and stories of our ancestors?
- How do our lives today incorporate/reflect the lives of our ancestors?
- What is our relationship to the land we live on?
- What can we hear if we listen carefully to the land? To others?
PROJECT SUGGESTIONS AND WAYS TO PRACTICE
- Visit Sachem Head hiking trail in Greenfield or any other accessible natural area nearby. Listen to the land. What does it tell you?
- Learn more about the peoples who lived in what we now call the Connecticut River Valley of what we now call Massachusetts whose lives pre-dated contact with Europeans.
- Find out as much as you can about your ancestors. Define ancestors for yourself. It may mean the people from whom you are genetically descended, but it may mean people you consider to be your adopted ancestors, your spiritual ancestors, ancient people(s) you feel connected to in some important way.
- What is a family story in your own family (again, define family for yourself)? Write it down, or draw/paint it, or write a short play or poem about it, or express it in any other creative way you choose.