Historical society presents history of Nichewaug

Kimberly Toney, member of the Hassanamisco Band of Nipmuc and the coordinating curator of Native American and Indigenous studies at Brown University, will be a guest speaker at the Petersham Historical Society’s meeting on Friday, April 26.

Kimberly Toney, member of the Hassanamisco Band of Nipmuc and the coordinating curator of Native American and Indigenous studies at Brown University, will be a guest speaker at the Petersham Historical Society’s meeting on Friday, April 26. K. TONEY/BROWN UNIVERSITY

Staff Report

Published: 04-14-2024 5:00 PM

Modified: 04-19-2024 12:00 PM


PETERSHAM – The Petersham Historical Society presents Kimberly Toney – member of the Hassanamisco Band of Nipmuc and the inaugural coordinating curator of Native American and Indigenous studies at Brown University – as guest speaker at the society’s annual meeting on Friday, April 26, at 7 p.m. at Petersham Town Hall, 1 South Main St. This program is free and open to the public.

Toney’s talk, “Beyond Petersham: An Indigenzing History of Nichewaug,” will explore Indigenous narratives about the place now called Petersham, which Indigenous people call Nichewaug.

“This talk invites a reexamination of the complicated, violent histories of settler colonialism in Nichewaug from an Indigenous and indigenizing approach that can help change the ways we think about place, space, land and community,” said Toney.

Toney noted that she is deeply engaged with cultural revitalization, language reclamation and land back efforts in her Nipmuc community, and in her professional work, strives to connect Indigenous knowledge and practices to all scholarly endeavors.

“The history of Nichewaug long predates European settlement, which began in the early 18th century,” she said. “As a meeting place connected to multiple waterways and ecological and agricultural resources, Nichewaug remains a culturally significant site for Nipmuc people beyond and before interactions with European settlers there. However, the dominant narratives about Petersham and Nichewaug tell us little about Nipmuc or other Indigenous connections to that place.”

Toney holds an MA in historic preservation from the University of Delaware and serves as a consultant to cultural institutions and land trusts in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Jennifer Albertine, historical society board member and Petersham resident, said “This event offers a chance to bring two communities, with a shared history on this land, together to increase cultural and historical understanding. By inviting Nipmuc citizens to educate our community about their history on their own terms, we can take an important step in making Nipmuc people feel welcomed and an important part of our community’s history.”

All are welcome to a brief meeting of the Petersham Historical Society which precedes the guest speaker’s program at 6:30 p.m. This program is supported by funding from the Petersham Cultural Council, a local agency of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Suspect still at large after allegedly striking Warwick police chief with vehicle
PHOTOS: Uniquely Quabbin 25th issue celebration at Athol Library
Athol lands $500,000 grant to assess Cass Toy Factory, York Theater
Athol Water Division receives Public Water System Award
$338K fraud drains town coffers in Orange
Mahar school district tightens belt in wake of town fraud