Letter: Righting a wrong
Please allow me to add my voice to those who have called for the Town Council to pass the “Indian Burial Grounds” protection resolution.
I grew up in Greenfield. My school memories of any discussion of local native peoples centered on the events described in the book, “Boy Captive Old Deerfield.” I cannot remember any discussion of the events of May 19, 1676 at the peace village, Wassitinuag (now known as Turners Falls).
The peace village was a place at the confluence of the two rivers (now known as the Connecticut and Fall) where all tribes went in peace (despite any intertribal conflicts) to partake in the bounty of fish.
Approximately 145 English settlers, commanded by Captain William Turner, slaughtered over 300 native women, children and old men who were living at the falls. His was no “battle,” as portrayed in the histories. It was just a slaughter. Captain Turner and his band of bloodthirsty murderers (I wonder how many of those murderers were from Greenfield) attacked the peace village while the men were out hunting. When the men returned and found their loved ones had been murdered, they chased Turner and his men down and killed them near the current location of the Greenfield Swimming Pool.
I see Turner’s actions as despicable and cannot believe that a town (Turners Falls) was named after him. I strongly object to this and hope it will change. The resolution is important because of the distinct possibility that bones of the dead from the massacre were reburied in White Ash Swamp, it also necessary to recognize what actually happened in 1676 and have a dialogue about the true history of this area. Not only does the Town Council need to protect the White Ash Swamp, they need to be leaders in talking truth.
EDWARD M. EVANS