Each month of this series, we aim to share engaging and interactive resources—from books to videos to podcasts—that provide some base knowledge for our public events:

Resource List


Interested in participating in this series in a more hands-on way? We are forming working groups of 5-15 members—each co-convened by a Native and non-Native team. These are meant to a collaborative learning space where participants follow the lead of Native-led initiatives to repair harm, build relationships, and restore justice. Read about and apply to participate in the Working Groups here:


2020 is the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s landing in Wampanoag territory in 1620. People in the U.S.—and white people in particular—have yet to reckon with the centuries of violence and conflicts over land, resources, and values that began with the arrival of Europeans. The way this history is most often told—by settlers’ descendants—excludes the voices of Indigenous peoples, downplays the systematic violence and attempted erasure that Indigenous communities have survived, and raises many questions about who gets to shape our understanding of history and why. The continued erasure of Indigenous stories and perspectives, in history and the present time, calls into question whether colonialism is really “history” at all—or a system and set of policies that still actively shape communities in this region today.

As an organization based in the Kwinitekw/Connecticut River Valley, Karuna Center for Peacebuilding is excited to announce a local dialogue and event series that will explore many of those questions—Erasure and Restoration: An Exploration of Past and Present in the Kwinitekw Valley’s Indigenous Communities.” Through events facilitated by Indigenous people and non-Indigenous allies, the series will consider who the narrators of Indigenous history are, make space for a strengths-based retelling, and analyze the meaning and matter of relationship-building, reconciliation, land caretaking, memory, and inclusive curricula that explore Indigenous histories, cultures, and lived experiences.

Upcoming Events in this Series



With Stephanie Morningstar
Originally scheduled for October 21, 2020
Future updates to be announced

Between 1776 and 1887, 1.5 billion acres of land was stolen from Indigenous nations in the U.S. either by executive order or treaty signed under force, coercion, and duress. The Northeast was settled prior to 1776 and is primarily unceded (lack of treaty) territory, stolen from Indigenous peoples and settled without consent. NEFOC LT is proud to center the voices and sovereignty of those who have carried relationships with and responsibilities to the land we all call home.

Join Stephanie Morningstar, Executive Director of the New England Farmers of Color Land Trust (NEFOC LT), to learn some of the strategies NEFOC LT is exploring to repair colonial harm rather than replicate it, by working alongside Indigenous communities to listen and learn through open conversations with respect to their wishes for land in their territories. Expect to learn about the history and effects of land dispossession, and NEFOC LT’s evolution of a fulsome policy, protocol, and strategies for listening, learning, taking direction from the myriad of Indigenous nations (both federally recognized and unrecognized) whose ancestral homelands make up the Northeast. Walk away with an understanding of the complexity of the process, and some strategies that uplift and center sovereignty while advancing Indigenous land access and redistribution of land-based wealth.

This program is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Additional funding for this event series is provided by the Ellis L. Phillips Foundation. All of our work is made possible by Karuna Center’s donor community. Thank you.

Past Events in this Series


With Peter Forbes

November 18: 12:00-12:45 pm Eastern time (introductory conversation)

AND FRIDAY, December 5: 9:00-11:00 am Eastern time (in-depth conversation with questions) – please note date and time change from original announcement

Registration is restricted to staff, leadership, and board members of land trusts, and other conservation and land based groups. To register, please email kristine@karunacenter.org

Join Peter Forbes for two sheltered conversations among practitioners about the primary reasons why land justice is central to the future of land conservation and what the obstacles are that stand in our way. The goal of these two presentations is to introduce concepts deeply enough for practitioners to make their own decisions about how to move forward.

The introductory dialogue (one hour) offers an overview of what land justice means to conservationists, why it’s important now, and introduces terms and purpose. We will briefly introduce the work of First Light in Maine.

The second dialogue (two hours) will explore what is at stake and what can be gained. We explore the differences between access and belonging and the difference between charity and reciprocity and why these concepts are important to land justice. We will explore tools that other land conservation groups are using to share power and land, and how these tools are changing who they are and what conservation means. We will do a deeper dive into what land justice asks of us and our organizations.


With James Young
Thursday, January 7, 2021
5:00 – 6:30pm Eastern U.S. time

In this slide-talk on “Memorials against the National Grain,” James Young explores a series of memorials and “counter-memorials” built to commemorate events that go against the grain of traditional, self-aggrandizing national memory. Beginning with a discussion of Maya Lin’s design for the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C., he traces an arc of design forms meant to counter conventional monuments’ self-certain celebration of a nation’s history. In this vein, he shows how a new generation of German artists and architects took their inspiration from Maya Lin in their Holocaust-themed “counter-monuments,” including the Denkmal for Europe’s Murdered Jews in Berlin. From here, Young turns to an examination of what he believes is America’s greatest contemporary counter-memorial, The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, in Montgomery, AL, also known as “the lynching memorial.”


With Ron Welburn

Wednesday, December 2
Held online via zoom

Responding to the desire expressed by some participants in the Connecticut River Valley as Native Space program to appreciate contemporary Native life in this region, Ron Welburn will utilize his personal experiences and life learning as someone of Indigenous heritage. He hopes to illuminate Native ways of survival and survivance as dynamic in spite of historical and modern pressures making an impact on cultural identity.

Ron Welburn is an emeritus professor in the English department at UMass Amherst, where he served as director of the department’s American Studies Graduate Concentration and is a co-founder of the University’s Certificate Program in Native American Indian Studies (in Anthropology), serving as its first director for nine years. He also chaired the Five College Native American (née American Indian) Studies Curriculum Committee. Ron’s hometown is Berwyn, Pennsylvania, and he grew up in Philadelphia. He graduated from Lincoln University, the University of Arizona, and NYU. He holds an abiding interest in the histories and survivals of Native families of the Atlantic coast, considering that he is an Accomac Cherokee descended from the Gingaskin Reservation on the Virginia Eastern Shore, as well as the neighboring Assateague people, Lenapes, and African Americans; and he is related to Native families on Bermuda whose ancestors were sent into slavery. Ron is seeking ways to coordinate Indigenous studies with Jazz studies towards a new paradigm for American studies, and is studying Native American contributions to jazz, blues, and popular music. His articles, book reviews, and poems have appeared widely.


With Anne Makepeace, Jennifer Weston, and Nitana Hicks Greendeer

Monday, November 23
Held online via zoom

We Still Live Here – Âs Nutayuneân is an inspiring story of Indigenous cultural revival. At this time of year, millions of Americans will be reenacting a Thanksgiving myth of peaceful European settlement in the Northeast. This film tells a powerful Wampanoag story about restoring a language decimated by the reality of colonization—and the hope that this cultural restoration brings for the future.

The film’s story begins in 1994, when a Wampanoag social worker named Jessie Little Doe began having recurring dreams about familiar-looking people from another time, who were addressing her in a language she did not understand. This began an odyssey that would lead her to receive a Master’s Degree in Algonquian Linguistics from MIT and to found the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project. Today, members of the Wampanoag nation are successfully bringing a language back to life that had not been spoken aloud in more than a century.

The virtual screening was followed by a live Question & Answer session with Anne Makepeace, the filmmaker, Jennifer WestonDirector of the  Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project, and Nitana Hicks Greendeer, a teacher, researcher, Wôpanâak Fluency Coach, and citizen of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe


With Larry Spotted Crow Mann
September 22, 2020

Held online via zoom

Join Larry Spotted Crow Mann for an engaging talk that will focus on the spiritual, cultural and social significance of ‘Place and the Art of Story’ on the Indigenous peoples of New England. This event will highlight how a colonial narrative has harmfully impacted both Native people and non-Native people through a conversation that centers on the personal journey of the survival and perseverance of Nipmuc People and their continued efforts to share their story, while also shaping new ones for the coming generations.

The event closed with a discussion on the many varied walks of life that all humans come from and how those ‘different stories’ have been used to incite fear throughout history. In Larry’s words, “We must, as human beings, find ourselves in each other’s story and reconcile that bond with unity, love and respect.”



Held online via Zoom 

With Dr. Lisa Brooks, Professor of English and American Studies at Amherst College, and author of The Common Pot: The Recovery of Native Space in the Northeast and Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War; Dr. Margaret M. Bruchac, performer, ethnographer, historian, and museum consultant; and Cheryl Savageau, poet, memoirist, storyteller, educator, and the author of Out of the Crazywoods.

Kwinitekw, or the Connecticut River, has long been an Indigenous “super highway” and a crossroads of nations. With this Zoom conversation, we invite you to interact with the Connecticut River Valley as dynamic Native space through a conversation with Abenaki writers Cheryl Savageau, Marge Bruchac, and Lisa Brooks. Learn about deep time stories, Indigenous history, movements and migrations, and continuing knowledge exchange. This is a dynamic place from which we are all constantly learning. 

Readers may want to explore Lisa Brooks’s “Our Beloved Kin” website, which functions as a reader’s companion to her book Our Beloved Kin, especially the pages on the Connecticut River Valley “path.” This path features a story, “Wôbanakiak: Amiskwôlowôkoiak – the People of the Beaver-tail Hill,” told by Marge Bruchac and a poem, “At Sugarloaf,” by Cheryl Savageau, with which our conversation will begin. Lisa Brooks will host the conversation, which will include a Q&A session, building a space of exchange.

Upon registration, participants will be asked to do a bit of “homework,” reviewing various resources from Dr. Brooks, Dr. Savageau, and Dr. Bruchac to prepare for an interactive and engaging event. 

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447 West Street, Amherst, MA 01002 USA
PHONE: +1 413.256.3800

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