"They" Already Knew? Going Along to Get Along/ Sacred Geography/ Sacred Remains
I stopped by the Holliston MA. town hall today. I got more info about the Hopping Brook Development site (DEP File # concerning the wetlands, etc.) which I have already passed along. I kept myself together while visiting the town hall place, but man oh man, does that place ever stink to high hell. When I first walked into that place, inquiring about the Hopping Brook site an over-weight wanna-be authority-type figure, red in the face obviously due to high cholesterol and sloth-like tendencies, invaded my space and snapped at me about how all permits were already obtained, legally, and that is the end of the story and that development is going on as planned. I smirked and countered this by saying, quite adamantly as the situation called for, that since the developers needed to obtain a federal permit for Storm-water Management due to the Wetlands, somewhere along the line somebody broke protocol and federal guidelines by not contacting a representative of one of the several federally-recognized tribal nations in the area, concerning development in ancestral territories of Native people.
With that said, I would add for this blog that the site that is to be developed is a unique and important part of the local Ceremonial Stone Landscape, including what may very likely be (and if you are educated about such archaeology than you don't even have to suppose, you will have a good sense of pretty much 'knowing') large stone burial mounds as well as other features such as smaller rock groupings, some ceremonial items such as standing stones, serpent walls and rows of enclosures, sacred boulders, etc. Also, one can see the high point of the Milford Hills, Magomiscook, from the Hopping Brook site, and vice-versa. We still know today, for example, such as through the modern council of the Pokonoket band of Wampanoag, as they point out, about sacred hills and mountains important to their culture since time immemorial. Popular examples would be Mt. Hope in Rhode Island (basically a large hill but big enough to be classified as a "mountain"), being able to view Mt. Wachusett in central MA. from the peak/ side of Mt. Hope and being able to see Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire from Mt. Wachusett in central MA. These are all sacred mountains known by local Native people.
Just as I have noticed that at the vantage points of Mt. Nobscot (another "large hill") in Framingham/ Sudbury MA. (west of Boston) one can see the Blue Hills nearby to Boston, as well as Mt. Wachusett in the other direction, I have noticed that the high points of the Milford Hills (Magomiscook) afford an even more spectacular view-shed. The Blue Hills can be seen from here, as well as points that may be in Rhode Island, and in the direction of Uxbridge and Mendon MA. One can also see points in Hopkinton and Westboro, going towards the direction of Central MA. and I speculate that if the tree lines were clear one could see Mt. Wachusett from the Milford Hills. (One early Milford town historian mentioned that Wachusett was visible from the Milford hills in his day- written in the early nineteenth century.) What I am getting at here, is that there is a whole entire "lost" network of sacred hillsides in the region, but here I am focusing on the Milford/ Holliston area, and that the local Ceremonial Stone Landscape is also a part of this story. It is also no coincidence that the area is the headwaters of the Charles River watershed. The fact that the Hopping Brook site is a part of this sacred landscape is significant- it is the first large hill to be seen in the distance from the Milford Hills, and the Milford Hills can be seen from Hopping Brook.
But back to the Hopping Brook site in particular: for the past several years, and perhaps even before then, this site has been on the inventory of sites for the region's Ceremonial Stone Landscapes. The developers needed to renew their federal permit for developing around wetlands within a year of the start of development. It is around this time that representatives from the tribal nations should have been contacted. This never happened. What is worse, is that the clerk who did end up helping me (who was nicer than the other guy) told me that some people on the Holliston Conservation Commission and Planning Board already know about Sacred Native American Rock Piles in the local area and about some of their significance. Really? REALLY? Than how on earth can these same people sit in the town meetings and planning board meetings, meetings relevant to the Hopping Brook development and do nothing? I know why- because "one hand washes the other hand." At the end of the day, these people all look out for each other and for the best interests of "business" in the town. It seems to me that people in the know about these stone sites, did not bring up the fact these structures were all over the place around the Hopping Brook site, because they are going along to get along. "Team players." Being a team player is good sometimes, but not when you are on the wrong team. So in other words, the "good" and "charitable" people of the Holliston Planning Board and Conservation Commission are racists... they knew these structures were there, in the way of development, and they did nothing.
This act of development is an outrage. Not only may there be burial structures on this site (there are certainly structures of Native origin on site), the developers would also take an eraser to the sacred hillside and put up a warehouse or other industrial building; this is a sacrilege. Again; these modern people aren't thinking straight- these buildings and parking lots may only be used for several generations, while the true heritage of that landscape, which has endured and been celebrated for thousands of years, will be lost forever.
Depending on one's own definition of who is and who isn't a Native person, I may or may not "qualify". If a Native person is an enrolled tribal member, who can prove an unbroken line to their respective communities, than in those terms I am not a Native person. If one defines a Native person as someone with any Native heritage at all, than yes, I am a Native person. I saw a quote the other day (concerning Taino people) that said, "inside every mestizo (person of European/American Indian descent) is either a dead Indian or an Indian waiting to be re-born." In my case, I have always felt I have been waiting to be re-born, to embrace my Native roots. The word mestizo, in Spanish, usually refers to someone who is "half and half" but I would revise that to include anybody with any Native heritage.
The same people who would approve this development and profit from it do not even relate to this very land in any way, shape, or form. Furthermore, some of these same people have even probably been convinced that Life has no Spirit. So of course they are going to destroy the landscape- they are motivated by nothing more than a material profit, which is not 'the Way' ("the Way" is the law of natural order and life, from the source of creation defined in many old theologies such as Taoism, early Gnosticism, etc., which in turn grew out of different world Native traditions.) The business model of driving up profits is unsustainable and can basically be summed up by this video clip of Oren Lyons (of the Onondaga Nation) where he talks about the business model and the consumption of resource ("none of you are pulling your horse" he says, also "you need a moral question in your governing process"):
I also found the following Oren Lyons talk to be very relevant to the topic of this blog post. "We Are Part of the Earth":
The kind of mindless development that is currently under-way at the Hopping Brook site in Holliston, MA. is just the latest example in a long line of trends of developments that needs to be re-thought and re-considered if we do not want to reach that "point of no return" that we are "heading to." (see the first Oren Lyons link.) That is all I can think to say about this for now. Not only this, but we (all people) lose our relationship with the land, many people have given this up already and have freely done so, and maybe some never "had it" in the first place... more people need to return to the good way of living.