Light Summer Homework

Take a photograph of a native name that persists in the modern landscape near your college, bring the photograph saved

Standing Indian spearfishing from a canoe, Mascoma Bank Logo
Former Mascoma Bank Logo, used with permission of Clayton Adams of Mascoma Bank.

as a JPEG file and we can practice uploading it to your blog when we meet on Sept. 5. Figure out the particular native people that once inhabited your college’s area.  We hope you can come to class knowing who those native people were.  If you run into trouble, ask a reference librarian at your college for assistance, and if that doesn’t work, send us an email.

Example: The name Mascoma appears in a number of places in New Hampshire where I live, but the most obvious one is at my bank, Mascoma Savings. How am I going to even know that Mascoma is a native name? Well, in this case, the bank’s logo is an Indian standing in a birch bark canoe on the Connecticut River.  That made me suspect the native origins of the name Mascoma.  I got lucky, because a quick internet search revealed to me that  “Mascommah was a Squakheag Indian whose last historic village was located at what is now Northfield, Massachusetts, although the tribe’s lands stretched far up the Connecticut River,” take a look at my source.

The bank recently decided to change its logo away from the Indian silhouette to something abstract. I have mixed feelings about that.  For Mascoma’s name to be attached to a modern market institution may not be right. On the other hand, I appreciated that there was some trace of this man still standing in the landscape.  It turns out that his name lives on in Mascoma Valley and Mascoma Lake, which are both near Canaan, New Hampshire (by White River Junction).  The tradition is that the hunting territory of a native chief was referred to with his name.  Did the territory of someone living in Northfield, Massachusetts really go as far north as White River Junction, New Hampshire? That’s about 75 miles.  Perhaps, or perhaps there is more to the story.  I am intrigued to find out, and the three deeds in his name may be an archival thread upon which I can pull.

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