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Home > Virtual Village > Virtual Exhibits > Indigenous History of Storrowton Village

Indigenous History of Storrowton Village

This page showcases the results of an ongoing project to highlight the often-neglected Indigenous histories of the people and places that make up Storrowton Village Museum.

Without the brutal processes of colonialism, displacement, and dispossession employed by white settlers, none of the buildings that constitute Storrowton Village today could have been constructed. All of our buildings are part of a larger history of contact, trade, and theft between colonists and Indigenous people. This project aims to expand the histories of Storrowton's buildings and foster a greater understanding of the colonial forces that ultimately led to the creation of Storrowton Village.

Land Acknowledgement

Storrowton Village Museum acknowledges that Storrowton Village stands on Indigenous land, known to the original Algonkian Indian (Native American/Indigenous) inhabitants as “Agawam,” or “Akawaham.” The Indigenous name for this place is a locative term that roughly translates to “low-lying marshy lands,” describing a large region along both sides of the Kwinitekw (now called the Connecticut River) from present-day Enfield, Connecticut to the Holyoke Range. For at least 10,000 years, since the last era of glaciation, the Agawam people engaged in trade, diplomacy, and kinship with other regional Indigenous people, most notably: the Quaboag to the East; the Podunk to the South; the Woronoco to the West; and the Nonotuck, Pocumtuck, and Sokoki to the North.

During the 1630s, when Agawam leaders invited English colonial settlers to build a small settlement here, they attempted to preserve, in written deeds, Indigenous cartographies and rights to hunt, fish, plant, and live on tribal lands. When diplomatic relations failed, the Agawam people were decimated and dispersed as a direct result of colonial deceit, disease, and warfare. Although the survivors sought refuge with other Native communities across the northeast, very few direct descendants of the Agawam people live in West Springfield today.

Storrowton Village Museum acknowledges, however, that many Indigenous nations, from the territory we now call "southern New England," still survive and still exercise sovereignty. Storrowton Village Museum acknowledges, in particular, these contemporary Indigenous nations: the Nipmuc to the East; the Wampanoag and Narragansett to the Southeast; the Mohegan, Pequot, and Schaghticoke to the South; the Mohican to the West; and the Abenaki to the North, among many others. Recognizing that the entirety of the North American continent constitutes territory considered to be original Indigenous homelands, Storrowton Village respects the sovereignty of these and hundreds of other Native American Indigenous nations that survive today and Storrowton Village pledges to support the rights of these nations and the interests of Indigenous peoples.

Land acknowledgement adapted from "Springfield-Agawam Indigenous Land Acknowledgement" website from Springfield College and Dr. Laurel Davis-Delano. The website is a valuable collection of resources for beginning to learn about local Indigenous history.
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