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News ::
Wachusett Mountain is Sacred to Native Nipmuck People (english)
07 Aug 2003
Native Nipmuck people and forest activists continue to struggle against the threat of capitalism on Mount Wachusett. This week it intensified with tree-sits and blockades.
Last Tuesday morning, August 5th, several forest activists escalated their ongoing pressure against Wachusett Mountain Associates, a local ski-area operator that intends to destroy a crucial part of the mountain’s forest. Two activists climbed up into trees, where they remain, and a road blockade was constructed.

The Nipmuck people are a local native tribe that has regarded the mountain as sacred land. Three-hundred fifty-seven people currently belong to the tribe. The mountain has long been the site of ceremonial drumming and worshiping. Moreover, it is very possible that it was once used as a Nipmuck burial ground.

A concerned activist interviewed the chairman of the Nipmuck council, Burt Heath, to gather a sense of the tribe’s response to the direct action taken on Tuesday. He did not object to the escalation tactics.

"It’s sacred land to us, so we should be a part of anything that goes on over there,” said Heath. They have been in long-standing negotiations with the Department of Environmental Management. Unfortunately, the negotiations, dragging on and wearing thin, have given Heath the impression that “industry is the bottom line” and the logging often “appears like a done deal”. The liberating energy that the tree-sits, blockades and other direct actions bring to the mountain might, however, make everyone think twice about the possibility of changing things with our own hands.
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