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News :: Race
Native People Dissed in Greenfield
19 May 2004
One might think that by the 21st century, 328 years since white men slaughtered unarmed American Indian women and children in Franklin County, their heirs would finally be able to get it right.

In a sordid tale of what appears to be greed and racism, Greenfield's Mayor and pro-development forces in that Franklin County town have sought to discredit and undermine attempts by Native Americans to protect Indian remains that may date back to the massacre at Turners Falls that took place on May 19, 1676. Tomorrow at Unity Park in Turners Falls that tragic event will be marked with a gathering intended to seek reconciliation, but such sentiments do not seem to be on the agenda in Greenfield's town offices, the enclaves of developers, or for that matter, at the offices of the town's paper, The Greenfield Recorder.

Native people dissed in Greenfield
Native people dissed in Greenfield

According to Friends of Wissatinnewag, a Native-led group responsible for protecting an historic site off Canada Hill Road, a witness said human skeletal remains were removed from the Mackin sand bank (land that Friends of Wissatinnewag now owns) and moved by the truckload across French King Highway to the White Ash Swamp, and then callously bulldozed into the swamp back in 1964. Now, developers want to rezone the area and the mayor refuses to remove the ten-acre plot in question from the rezoning proposal that is soon to be on the June ballot in Greenfield.

As noted on the group's website: "At the Economic Development Committee meeting on March 11, the Friends publicly offered to work with the town to obtain funds that would enable the 10 acre wetland to be protected as open space. The Friends never received any response to our offer. Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of the citizens in attendance at this meeting urged the Committee to vote against the rezoning proposal, they still approved it. Councilman Issac Mass, the chair of the committee and the Mayor's "point-person" pushing for the rezoning, refused to allow text of [the witness's] affidavit to be read into the public record. The meeting was carried by GCTV." Interestingly, it was recently learned that Issac Mass is one of the founders of the rightwing and often reviled Citizen's for Growth, a pro-development cabal that has insinuated itself into town politics the past few years.

After the March 11 meeting, Mass had attempted to engineer what appeared to be a public relations coup on GCTV that would have put the Friends group into an untenable position due to the structure of the program. Friends turned down the invitation to the four televised meetings on the rezoning due to its structure and were then lambasted by Mass and, according to some, by the Greenfield Recorder. A source close to the issue tells Indymedia that The Recorder has consistently stonewalled Friends of Wissatinnewag by not printing their responses to attacks appearing in the paper and not giving equal coverage in their reporting.

One might think that by the 21st century, 328 years since white men slaughtered unarmed American Indian women and children in Franklin County, their heirs would finally be able to get it right. Perhaps tomorrow at the event in Unity Park some of that reconciliation will come to fruition, but now seems to be a fitting occasion for developers, government bureaucrats, journalists and editors in Greenfield to do their part and honor the remains of those who came before them. After all, all the economic development in the world will do little good to a society that is morally bankrupt.

This work is in the public domain.
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Re: Native people dissed in Greenfield
19 May 2004
Hey d.o. do you have an email address? It helps your credibility if you put it down with your article. And, after posting several articles myself I can assure you that the spam spiders are not able to read it, my email is still clean.
Re: Native People Dissed in Greenfield
02 Jun 2004
i lived in greenfield for a while, and other areas of western mass..

it comes as no surprise to me that the greenfield recorder would print no responses to attacks against this group; the big news in that town is often the most mundane..

'rabid squirrel terrorizes neighborhood'
'community watches paint dry'

and other nonsense.

i think the most progressive area in western mass would have to be northampton/amherst, mainly for their college student makeup; greenfield/turners falls are very much stuck about ten years behind everyone else..
Re: Native People Dissed in Greenfield
02 Jun 2004
Damn, this is some more truly disgusting news in what seems to be a long and un-ending slew of one desecration after another of native ingigenous peoples' remains.
Maybe it's time to start dishing out some of the same. How 'bout starting with the remains of the family members of this asshole named Isaac Mass? You know, just rent a backhoe and a large dump truck and then go out late at night and just dig up all of his fammily members' burial plots and then just dump 'em all in a swamp or a sewerage area and then don't tell him where they were dumped until a few years afterwards. Maybe then he could talk to a (pedophile) priest and have a "Mass" said in their honor. Meanwhile, a new catholic church could be built on that same former burial spot where he could go to "Mass" and pray to the fake white Jesus about it anytime he wants.

Of course none of what I've just suggested should or ever will happen 'cuz Indian people don't defile the dead like so many sick and geedy assed white men still do. Unfortunately, many of 'em just won't ever get it until the same disgusting shit happens to their own dead and buried ancestors and relatives.

Then again, maybe we can dig up and stick Mr. Mass' dead relatives in a museum of local dead white people and then share with everyone that visits what we've learned about their culture. Who knows, it could turn into a real money maker while giving people a true sense of the local culture of that time period.

Does that sound like some familiar sickening bullshit?

Can you say "Smithsonian"?

Maybe when Mr. Mass sees his own dead ancestors and relatives either buried in a "Mass" grave by a bulldozer or on display in a fucking museum somewhere he just might finally understand just how sickening this whole affair is and has been.

Make no mistake about it, you fuck with my ancestors graves and you can kiss your own ancestors remains goodbye.
Re: Native People Dissed in Greenfield
11 Jun 2004
Just to clarify the record. The written testimony of Mr. Nelson was entered into the public record along with the dozens of pieces of correspondence that the economic development committee received including a letter from the Mann family. What I did not allow was for a member of the public to read a correspondence that was written by someone else. A 3 to 1 vote of the entire committee waived the reading of all correspondence. Historically public hearings in Greenfield have limited testimony from the public to no more than two minutes, since taking office I have allowed unlimited testimony from those present at the hearing and allowed the record to be held open for additional public comment. It is by in far the most liberal public hearing policy the Town Council has know to date. We did invite Mr. Nelson in to testify on his own behalf, which he chose not to do. A member of the public was also prohibited from reading into the record a letter written by the Mann family, which owns part of the property proposed to be rezoned. They too were invited to testify on their own behalf and accepted giving some very compelling testimony. Invitations to testify before the Economic Development Committee came from the committee as a whole and not from the chairman individually, that vote was unanimous and included the support of Steve Alves and Arthur Levin both of whom opposed the rezoning. As our tradition is to listen at public hearings rather than engage in a dialogue, the purpose of the additional meetings was for Councilors on all sides to ask questions and become more knowledgeable.

While I find it flattering to be so closely associated with the Mayor. I think it would be inappropriate to characterize me as her “point-person” pushing rezoning as she has never once asked me to push rezoning at the French King site (Although she did ask me to introduce rezoning for the former Greenfield Tap & Die site as she can not introduce rezoning measures according to our municipal charter) and this particular rezoning issue was not brought forward by myself but by a citizen group. While I personally favored the rezoning, (the rezoning is from industrial to commercial there in my opinion is no protection in keeping the zoning as it stands, but the area with alleged native American remains will be protected by the wetlands preservation act and the army corps off engineers wetlands jurisdiction regardless of the zoning) my position on the rezoning from the beginning is that it should be up to the voters to decide and that is why I supported a nonbinding referendum, which recently passed two to one. The group that brought the rezoning forward was Citizens for Growth, a grassroots economic development organization which I did indeed help form in 2002 upon returning from Bosnia-Herzegovina. My formal association with CFG did end when I declared myself a candidate for Councilor At-Large, but my affiliation with them has never been a secret and has always been a matter of record. I remain close friends with many of the active members; I also am a friend of many people who oppose the efforts of CFG. Incidentally, while I am a moderate Republican I would not characterize CFG as right wing as I am the only Republican founding member and Penny Ricketts who is still the driving force behind CFG was the one time chair of the Greenfield Democratic Town Committee.
Re: Native People Dissed in Greenfield
28 Oct 2005
Interesting thoughts. Though not very accurate and severly one sided. I just want to add that it is now October 2005. The "land in question" still remains untouched and an intact wetland. The groups Friends of Wissatinnewag and Citizens for Growth are long closed and Greenfield did infact approve the zoneing changes as requested by it's citizens.

What i find completely humorous in this case is that the man who "saw these bones" dumped into Ash Swamp had admittingly saw it from several hundred feet away, did not have any evidence that they where human bones(even if you could see them from that far away), did not produce a single bone(I think I would have said something had I seen human remains being dug up), and now refuses to even talk about the incident or his affidavit stateing he saw it. I would also like to add that to date not a single bone has been found in or around Ash Swamp.

Since this zone has been changed from industrial to commercial not a word has been mentioned about this swamp or it's bones. It is now a dead issue, like nobody cares about it now that the zoneing battle has been lost. I suspect that future developements will have a resurgence of interest and perhaps a return of this single testimony of indian bones in the swamp. Well you know, unless the developement is a new casino..
Re: Native People Dissed in Greenfield
08 May 2006
while i would love to rail against young mr. mass for his baseless economic policy, there is a serious racial issue to be dealt with here. there is an affidavit in the record which gives testimony of remains being dug up and moved. there is no evidence of any kind to the contrary. whether or not you think that there are any remains, it would do a public servant well to not term them "alleged remains" when there is only positive data available.

i will grant that mass has kept his transgression to a minimum here (and that 2legged has not handled the debate in a way worthy of attention), mr, st.marie is clearly a bigot and his words should not be treated as anything but hateful vitriol. you may think your casino comment to be a funny joke, but instead it sits as a permanent log of your racism. well done.

and good day.
Re: Native People Dissed in Greenfield
12 May 2006
While Mr. Thankful has left and Mr. Mass has placed his feet firmly in the streets of Greenfield, I think it is time for yet another update in the White Ashe Swamp saga.

It looks like the people of Greenfield have a lot more going for them than some exhiled folks would like the world to believe. Although no indian bones have ever been found in this swamp and the writer of the highly toted affidavit refuses to speak to anyone about his 10+ year old affidavit which was put on file when a group of anti-walmart activists wanted to successfully stop them from building a store near by. The Mayor of Greenfield who supported the rezoning of said land along with Mr. Mass and Mr. St.Marie never had any intention of doing anything with the Swamp that some activists claim has Indian bones in it (but have never found). The story continues to this day. But one thing is for sure. Read the article and listen to the press conference. Nobody ever wanted to build anything (including a casino) in this swamp. Bones or no bones.

Mr. Gladyourgone. Racism and sarcasm are two different things. Mine are the sarcastic ones. Perhaps you should look in your mirror and see your own prejudices and hatred.
Re: Native People Dissed in Greenfield
16 May 2006
If only the citizens of Greenfield MA and it's leaders understood that saving ancient history would be to their advantage.

Can you imagine someone purchasing the old burial ground in Historic Deerfield and making gravel out of it or putting a wallmart there just to make some money?

I am an " outsider" to your area. I am from Indiana where in my home town the oldest building is from 1850 or so. We preserved it well too. The building is open to visit and people also pay to see the small museum inside.

What I can't understand is how little value residents give to the unique and rich history of this land. It can be traced back 12,000 years!
I found ancient pottery and arrowheads just walking my dogs near some fields in your city.

The Native peoples in this land had a well established and successful way of life for literally thousands of years.

I have two children and a busy live but I study about your history because- quite frankly- i find it facinating.

Please take the time to visit the the Pequot Museum in CT. I think museum's such as this are a much better long term investment for your community than apartments or little strip malls.

Greentield! Wake up! you are sitting on and destroying great valuable irreplaceable history.
Why not celebrate it and preserve it with respect?

An outsider sees this conflict as one that should be resolved by all the people in Greenfield who want to preserve their own history- EVERYONE"S history. You all live in Greenfield- this is your treasure that business developments and strip malls can never replace.

Stop taking this so personally.

I have no ancestors from this area but I do think that this area should be preserved. I can't imagine how it wouldn't be- after all it is a graveyard and a historic site.

I hope that Greenfield residents and leaders will really think about what is best for their city in deciding what happens to this ancient burial ground.

I am not insulting your city when I say this but- you guys could use a nice musuem.

Don't let this land to continue to be destroyed- your children and grandchildren will see your generation as one that was uncivilized and ignorant if you do .

Imagine if your daughter or son marries someone from Egypt and they come to visit your city in Greenfield. When they ask you about any history past three hundred years ago and ask to visit your historic sites won't you be a little bit embarrassed driving them to wallmart or firestone?

Really you guys open your eyes.


Therese Sillars
(just an outsider
from Indiana)
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06 Jun 2006
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06 Jun 2006
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06 Jun 2006
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06 Jun 2006
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