A Journey Through Time
Have you ever had the privilege of being a part of something larger than yourself? Something that goes beyond the present, reaching back into the dim mists of time and forward into the hopes of a better tomorrow? That was my experience working on the Peskeompskut Audio Tour, a project that not only enlightened me about the rich, nuanced history of Peskeompskut, but also connected me to the resilience of the Nipmuc, Wampanoag, and Abenaki people.
Peskeompskut: A Gathering Place
Located along the Unity Park Bike Path in Turners Falls, the tour explores the layered history of Peskeompskut, a Native American settlement that was a traditional gathering spot for Indigenous peoples. Nestled by the falls on the Connecticut River in Montague, Massachusetts, it was an ideal location for meeting, fishing, and trading—acts of community and sustenance that speak volumes about the enduring spirit of the people who once gathered there.
Building Bridges of Understanding
The Peskeompskut Audio Tour is a result of ongoing reconciliation efforts between the Town of Montague and tribal representatives, a journey that began back in 2004. Funded by the Expand Massachusetts Stories Grant from Mass Humanities, the project aims to stimulate interest in Indigenous, Colonial, and Industrial Era history. The tour’s narrative threads span from ancient Indigenous history to the 19th Century Industrial Era, encapsulating centuries of rich history within the span of a leisurely walk.
I was fortunate enough to serve as the recording engineer for each speaker on the tour. The experience was more than just a technical endeavor—it was a crash course in history, culture, and the power of storytelling. Each narrative, personal and historic, enriched my understanding of the past and underscored the importance of honoring those who came before us. I found myself immersed in stories of resilience, respect, and reconciliation, each one leaving an indelible imprint on my mind.
Adding to the richness of the experience, I also contributed a little violin music to the tour. The experience of creating music, recording, and getting to know the powerful history of Peskeompskut was as humbling as it was exhilarating.
Learning from a Diverse Team
But what truly made this project exceptional were the people involved. Working with a diverse team of historians, tribal representatives, and fellow creatives was a lesson in collaboration and mutual respect. Each person brought unique perspectives and expertise to the table, creating an environment of learning and growth.
More Than a Historical Project
The Peskeompskut Audio Tour is more than just a historical project—it’s an ongoing story, a testament to the enduring spirit of the Nipmuc, Wampanoag, and Abenaki people, and a reminder of our shared history. Participating in this project has been an enlightening journey—one that has deepened my appreciation for our rich, shared past and has left me with a profound sense of respect for the power of storytelling.
A Memorable Experience
In closing, my experience with the Peskeompskut Audio Tour was more than just a job—it was a journey into the heart of history, a meeting with the resilience of cultures, and an affirmation of the power of reconciliation. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this project, and I eagerly look forward to seeing how this arc of reconciliation continues to shape the future.
Securing Funding: The Expand Massachusetts Stories Grant
The Peskeompskut Audio Tour was made possible by a $20,000 Expand Massachusetts Stories grant from Mass Humanities. This grant program offers up to $20,000 for projects that collect, interpret, and/or share narratives about the Commonwealth, with an emphasis on the voices and experiences that have gone unrecognized or have been excluded from public conversation.
The Visionary Behind the Project: Suzanne LoManto
The creation and vision of the Peskeompskut Audio Tour were orchestrated by Suzanne LoManto, the director of RiverCulture.
Under Suzanne’s leadership, the many personalities and pieces of the Peskeompskut Audio Tour came together in a cooperative and enjoyable manner. Her visionary guidance and the generous grant from Mass Humanities made this journey into the heart of history possible.