Building Bridges Mural at the Great Falls of the Connecticut River in Unity Park (Montague), a sacred place for tribes all across the Northeast, is a collaboration between 6 indigenous artists, Native elders and historians, local youth and allies. This mural seasonal scenes of the First Peoples of this place. Building Bridges Mural is supporting community healing and togetherness after our HS's mascot change. It's reclaiming Native space at a sacred site, and a form of reparations.
The Great Falls is and has been a sacred and significant site for indigenous peoples for 13,000 years. The Pocumtuk, Nonotuk, Nipmuc, Abenaki, Mohawk, Wampanoag and other First Nations gathered each Spring for the annual fish runs. During the fish runs, there was a treaty of peace within 3 days' walk of the falls.
Today, people living in Montague still enjoy the Great Falls. Building Bridges mural seeks to tell some of the stories of this place, and to bring diverse people together for education, art and community service.
"Building Bridges" is a historic project, bringing together local youth, Native artists, other local artists and Native historians for collaborative design and community painting. Local youth will learn about our region's history, express themselves, and create a lasting piece of Art for our community.
The project has a lot of moving pieces. We have worked together for over a year and a half, including 3 months of collaborative design, many months of relationship and coalition building, grant-writing and management, and soliciting donations of food, funds and supplies... all within the delicate balance of social and political relationships of our small town. We are so close to completing our mural and reaching our fundraising goal! We have seed funding from 2 local Cultural Councils and continued from donations from people like you.
Thank you for your help!
Funds will be used to:
- Pay 5 indigenous artists to take part in collaborative design, youth mentoring, and painting
- Pay 2 indigenous historians to share stories of the Great Falls
- Pay 1 coordinator to coordinate the moving pieces
- Buy needed paint and supplies
- Host community painting parties in June
- Host a small mural launch party
"Building Bridges" Thanks Our Supporters:
Montague, Gill and Deerfield Cultural Councils
Art Angels, Western Mass Community Fund
New England Grassroots Environmental Fund
Institute for Environmental Awareness at Earthlands
Members of the Elnu Abenaki, Aquinnah Wampanoag, Nipmuc, Micmaq, Mohawk, and Blackfoot peoples and the Native American Intertribal Council of Western Massachusetts
Gill-Montague School District
Montague Parks & Recreation
Montague Town Planner
Great Falls Discovery Center
Great Falls Harvest
Turners Falls Pizza House
For more information:
Big Thanks to the Montague and Deerfield Cultural Councils for providing seed funding! This program is supported in part by a grants from the Gill, Montague and Deerfield Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency. Funded also provided by individual donors and the Art Angels, a program of the Western Mass Community Fund, Mass Humanities, New England Grassroots Environmental Fund ...
... and by community donors like You!
- Moti Zemelman
- Alli Jukiro
- Bill Baue
- Lisa Donahue
- Wade Mergen