October 11 2021: Indigenous Peoples’ Day in New Hampshire

Carved stones photographic print, 1901. One of two mounted photographic prints of a collection of twenty smooth stones, each with a figure crudely scratched into the service. Written on back of photos: “Indian Relicks from Procter, Franklin Falls, NH, March 27, 1901.” From NH Historical Society Online Catalog.

No, sadly you won’t find Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the official New Hampshire State calendar of holidays. Though the topic has been brought more than once before our State’s General Court, legislation to either change Columbus Day or to add Indigenous People’s Day to the same date as a holiday have failed. (There are a few cities and towns in New Hampshire who do officially celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day).

I could give you many reasons why “Columbus Day” should be dropped from the calendar, though I’m sure you’ve heard them all before. But what if … it turns out that Columbus is not Italian at all? Would that change anything? Would Italian-Americans still insist that this man, who is by many considered a tyrant and murderer, deserve a holiday in a country where he never set foot? And perhaps I should mention that he actually did not discover America.

Granada University and international labs are currently working together using DNA technology, and testing the remains of Christopher Columbus, his son Hernando, and brother Diego. Various theories consider his origin from Italy, Portugal, Spain and other locations in Europe.  EL PAIS reports on “Study of Christopher Columbus’ DNA set to reveal his true origins.”  This report should be unveiled sometime this month (October 2021).  I can’t wait!

Second in a collection, photo of carved stones, taken in 1901. “Relicks” (sic) reportedly from Procter, Franklin Falls, NH. Figures include six faces, two crescents, a tepee, a fish or projectile point, a set of three parallel lines, and a pair of perpendicular lines. The faces, crescents and tepee are somewhat similar to carvings on the Meredith “mystery stone.” From NH Historical Society Online Catalog.

The New Hampshire Folk Life web site says regarding the The First Nations who arrived and settled in New Hampshire “about 11,000 years ago and the passage of time and movements of people have obscured their origins. The descendants of these people divided into bands-often called tribes. Among them were the Penacook, Winnipesaukee, Pigwacket, Sokoki, Cowasuck and Ossipee.”  They are still among us.

Those European “explorers” and “founders” that we often put on a pedestal, were in actuality “invaders” who either inadvertently (because of diseases they shared) or purposefully conquered, displaced, enslaved or killed the people already living here. Lets not change the truth because it is more comforting to us. We know that the “winners” always write the history books.

Yes, yes I know, lets not dwell on the past. So in the present, lets not act like our ancestors, and instead give the Native People, the First Nation, the American Indians, their due–at least one day where we celebrate and acknowledge them.

To discover what events are being held in New Hampshire this month to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day, or otherwise shine a light on the First Nations of the United States, visit this FaceBook Page: The NH Coalition for Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

*****ADDITIONAL READING*****

New Hampshire’s Native Americans: Hiding in Plain Sight

The Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook Abenaki People

The Mystery Stone and Seneca Ladd of Meredith NH

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1 Response to October 11 2021: Indigenous Peoples’ Day in New Hampshire

  1. Ginny says:

    Great Article! I liked the feeling you gave regarding the real origin of this country.

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