The Berkshire Edge Article – August 30, 2023 – Written by: Leslee Bassman
Following today’s historic Stockbridge announcement by Massachusetts Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll, Monument Mountain will once again belong to the Indigenous people that settled the area centuries ago.
“The North slope of the land now known as Fenn Farm on Monument Mountain will once again be stewarded by the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of the Mohican Nation,” Driscoll said to a packed Stockbridge Town Hall, part of the ancestral homeland of the Mohican tribe that’s now based in Wisconsin. “That’s not only a meaningful step forward in relation to our history, but [it] also means that Indigenous land management practices and traditional ecological knowledge are going to help us fight and adapt to an ever-growing and present-changing climate future.”
She acknowledged the work done by Stockbridge officials to affect the return of this land.
The change is promulgated by a $31.5 million grant program—the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program (MVP)—that provides local communities with funding and technical assistance to implement climate resilience projects. Along with 56 different individual municipal grantees, the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans was awarded a $2.26 million grant to reclaim 351 acres of their Indigenous homelands, while implementing tribal conservation and forest management strategies to combat climate change.
“We are celebrating the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans reclaiming land in their ancestral homeland,” Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper said. “We are also celebrating the concept to have Indigenous land management as a key way to further climate resiliency in our state.”
Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans President Shannon Holsey described the day as “very joyful and emotional” for her community. “We believe that it is our responsibility to be land stewards and to advocate for future generations,” she said. “We are grateful to be home today, and we are grateful to be partners with all of you who made today possible.”
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