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Visualizing 19th century Nipmuc Landscapes

Author(s): Heather Law Pezzarossi

Year: 2017

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The Nipmuc people once lived seasonally mobile lifestyles among the lakes, rivers and hills of what is now Central Massachusetts. Colonial encroachment affected this lifestyle greatly, at first in the form of policed and restricted mobility and pressure from the colonial government to own and farm land in severalty, and then later, in the late 18th and early 19th c., the Nipmuc community was largely dispossessed of their land by surrounding Euro-American farmers. As a result, the 19th century Nipmuc community was widely dispersed across Central Massachusetts, living on land they did not own, renting in the city and on larger farms in the countryside. They tended to move often, rarely leaving much documentary evidence of their dwelling history. These events have contributed to an inadvertent narrative of disappearance and erasure that poorly reflects the continued occupancy of the Nipmuc community on the New England landscape. In this paper, I use GIS as a tool to visualize the New England landscape as an Indigenous community space in the 19th century, regardless of its ownership, divisions and transformations at the hands of Euro-American settlers and the difficulties, past and present, inherent in representing Native spaces with Western style maps.

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Visualizing 19th century Nipmuc Landscapes. Heather Law Pezzarossi. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430881)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -80.815; min lat: 39.3 ; max long: -66.753; max lat: 47.398 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16476

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America