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OLLI: Indigenous Culture in the Berkshires and Beyond

Six Mondays beginning April 13, 2020, from 12:30 to 2:00 PM as a Zoom webinar

Registration is now open. (Course M103)

Materials for Session One can be found at this link.

Here is a brief description of the course:

Today’s headlines feature climate crisis and civic strife. In contrast, for thousands of years, local indigenous people lived in harmony with the land, and with each other.

By exploring the culture (beliefs and practices) of the Muh-he-con-neok (Mohican) people, who are the original inhabitants of the Berkshires, we will see the influence they, and other indigenous cultures in the Americas, have had (and continue to have) on our present society.

Through presentations, suggested readings, and discussions, we will observe lessons learned and lessons missed; and the relevance of indigenous culture, then and now, to the larger questions of human experience.

During this course, we will discuss The Sweep of History, the Variety and Sophistication of Indigenous American Cultures (including the Haudenosaunee, the Inkas, the Abenaki, our own Mohicans, and others), and the impact that European and American ways had upon each other (e.g. the Little Ice Age, and the Enlightenment Philosophers, whose thinking influenced the rebellion of the English colonists).

I’ve used some of what I’ve learned to create a land acknowledgment for my town.

Indigenous Cultures: Session One

Slides used in Session One have been posted here. This is a link to my follow-up commentary, expanding on some of my remarks as well as addressing some questions that did not get answered during the class. The Alford Land Acknowledgment can be found here. Our first session went well, I thought. There were about …

Indigenous Cultures: Session Two

A Berkshire Land Acknowledgment Suggested Reading: Usufruct Rights Here is a link to the webinar “Who Are the Abenaki: Past, Present and Future, April 18, 2020” Comments on the Abenaki webinar ^ given by the Nolumbeka Project on April 18, and a couple of open questions Slides that were used in Session Two

Indigenous Cultures: Session Three

Slides used in Session Three Watch here for additional materials to be added soon.

Indigenous Cultures: Session Four

Here is a link to the slides that were used in Session Four. I did not have time during class to go over every one of them in detail, and I did not display for any length of time the slides that had a large amount of text on them. You may wish to look …

Indigenous Cultures: Session Five

Here is a link to the slides used in Session Five. For the record, I had been asked if “Erie” was an Indian name, and the answer is “yes” although I could find no information on whether it had any meaning, beyond being just a name. What I found is summarized here. I also mentioned …

Indigenous Cultures: Session Six

This is a link to the slides that were used in class. Mohican Values Here is a link to a document describing some elements of a trip to London, which was taken by four Mohican Chiefs and their wives. They went to see the King, and ask for redress for the wrongs done to the …