1../awikhigan/../media/images/beaver-landscape-marge-IMG-PR5.jpg2017-05-29T18:40:48+00:00Marisa Parham0b3989f8b160e074aa2cff76ed0bc80e7e72fc1762Photo of Ktsi Amiskw, the Great Beaver, by Marge Bruchacplain2017-07-07T16:07:42+00:00Lisa Brooksfec693e828c406419bf2b9fc046e7ea8bc7558cb
12017-05-29T18:41:00+00:00Ktsi Amiskw, the Great Beaver24image_header2019-05-31T18:41:53+00:00The mountain known as Ktsi Amiskw, the Great Beaver, looms above Kwinitekw, the Connecticut River. Several Abenaki women have given powerful tellings and interpretations of the traditional story, which embeds many layers of Indigenous memory, from the melting of the glaciers and the creation of the Great Beaver's pond to colonization and the beaver wars. As the story has returned in this generation, it also has much to teach us, not only about our collective past, but the present and future, as well.
Cheryl Savageau dedicated her poem, "At Sugarloaf, 1996" to Marge Bruchac, writing the Great Beaver story into a contemporary landscape of recovery. Here, she reads it on top of the mountain, the Great Beaver's bowl in the background, while Lisa Brooks listens with students.
Judy Dow recently recorded another telling of the story, which embeds teachings about the geology and ecology of the Connecticut River Valley, which you can listen to by clicking here:
You can also read more about the Great Beaver story in Marge Bruchac's essay, “Earthshapers and Placemakers: Algonkian Indian Stories and the Landscape,” in Indigenous Archaeologies, and in Lisa Brooks's The Common Pot.Here, Lisa points to the place where Hobbomock broke the beaver's neck, as Judy Dow looks on, and they talk about the story and the land that holds it.
What significance does this story hold for you? What does it mean that no marker conveys this site's existence, or its importance? What is ironic about the other signs and symbols that are posted by the Great Beaver? How does the mountain itself help us remember the story?
12017-05-29T18:41:00+00:00Connecticut River Valley, 167521image_header36202018-05-01T15:32:12+00:00Kwinitekw has long been an Indigenous superhighway, a crossroads of exchange, a canoe travel route, and a fertile bowl of flourishing agricultural towns. Even now, the Connecticut River Valley continues to draw Indigenous people from the region and far beyond and feeds many people from its intervales.
The outbreak of King Philip’s War in the Connecticut River Valley has long been associated with the ambushes of Captains Richard Beers and Thomas Lathrop, on August 26 and on September 3, 1675, the latter memorialized as “Bloody Brook” in colonial narratives and memorials. Although interest in the location of these ambushes persists, the Indigenous context of this place is often elided. These ambush sites were located in Pocumtuck territory, at the foot of the mountain known as Ktsi Amiskw, the Great Beaver. This prominent feature, rising above the river, has long held a story that conveys the consequences of greed and the potential, in the land and the people, for restoring balance in the social and ecological environment.
Follow the pages in this path to learn more about the outbreak of warfare in the Connecticut River Valley, the story of the Great Beaver, and the connection to James Printer’s imprisonment and release.