From Nonotuck to Northampton: Recovering Histories of Indigenous Persistence

The Indigenous homeland known as Nonotuck is situated along both sides of the “long river” Kwinitekw (the Connecticut River), including parts of present-day Easthampton, Northampton, Hadley, Hatfield, South Hadley, and Amherst, MA. During the 1600s, Native leaders in Agawam (now Springfield) and Nonotuck (now Northampton and Hadley) invited English colonists to establish small trading posts and settlements in the region. This talk offers glimpses into Native colonial relations, while also reflecting on the lives of the Native families who continued to inhabit Nonotuck long after it became Northampton. Click here for an 88-minute on-line presentation on September 2, 2022 by Dr. Margaret M. Bruchac (Abenaki).

By the late 1600s, colonial conflict and warfare violated these agreements and fractured these relations. After King Philip’s War, the Nonotuck and many of their Native neighbors folded into refugee communities at Schaghticoke and elsewhere. Some Native families maintained a presence in the region throughout the 1800s, traveling familiar waterways, marketing baskets and brooms, and dispensing traditional Native medicines.

Sachems like Umpanchela and Chickwalloppe negotiated diplomatic and trade relations with English colonial settlers and land brokers and attempted to preserve, in written deeds, Indigenous rights to hunt, fish, gather, plant, and live here in perpetuity. But, by the late 1600s, colonial conflict and warfare violated these agreements and fractured these relations. After King Philip’s War, the Nonotuck and many of their Native neighbors folded into refugee communities at Schaghticoke and elsewhere.

Some Native families maintained a presence in the region throughout the 1800s, traveling familiar waterways, marketing baskets and brooms, and dispensing traditional Native medicines. This talk by Dr. Margaret M. Bruchac (pictured above) offers glimpses into Native colonial relations, while also reflecting on the lives of the Native families who continued to inhabit Nonotuck long after it became Northampton, MA.