TURNERS FALLS – The annual Day of Remembrance will return on Saturday, representing the 346th anniversary of the Great Falls Massacre.
The event, intended to recognize the often untold story of the May 19, 1676 conflict at the Falls, is organized by the Nolumbeka Project, a local nonprofit preserving Indigenous history and culture. After a 10 a.m. film screening at the Great Falls Discovery Center about past and present Indigenous life, the annual memorial tradition will take place from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the lawn behind the building, according to Nolumbeka Project President David Brule. . Guest speakers, artisans and artists will be on hand to share stories, showcase art and sell their work.
According to a press release from the Nolumbeka Project, the Great Falls massacre is considered the major turning point in King Philip’s War, when 300 women, children and the elderly were killed in a surprise pre-dawn attack by the Captain William Turner and colonial militiamen.
“This is a relatively unknown event that happened in this county, in these lands that few people know about,” Brule explained, referring to the massacre as possibly “the most historic event that has ever happened.” is produced in the county”.
The annual Day of Remembrance is something of a continuation of the reconciliation ceremony in 2004, when the town of Montague and members of the Narragansett tribe officially acknowledged the conflict of May 19, 1676, according to Diane Dix, coordinator of the Nolumbeka project.
Elnu Abenaki, Chaubunagungamaug Nipmuc, Mashpee Wampanoag, Seaconke Wampanoag and a Mohawk tribal representation will be in attendance Saturday, according to Brule. Among those planning to attend are former Narragansett Deputy Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Doug Harris, as well as Mashpee Wampanoag artist, Robert Peters, who will exhibit and sell Indigenous artwork.
Peters is expected to unveil a 4ft by 5ft mural depicting the falls before the dam was built. Brule hopes this work can be exhibited publicly after the event.
“I would like (Gill or Montague) to buy it, but the price has to be negotiated with the artist and the Nolumbeka project,” Brule said.
Rather than imploring those present at the event to be sad in their memory, Brule prefers to simply “work towards healing”.
“I don’t want non-tribals to feel guilty,” he said. “Yes, bad things happen, but we weren’t there. … It’s not a party, but it’s not a vigil either.
Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or [email protected]