Sandra Matthews and David Brule will talk about their book. Occupying Massachusetts: Layers of History on Indigenous Land is an art book that engages with history and memory. Ms Matthews’ subtle photographs of vernacular structures and historic sites offer a uniquely personal meditation on the human occupation of land, with an emphasis on the long presence of Indigenous people, whose lands have been transformed by people coming here from all over the world since the early 1600s.
In addition to the photographs, the book contains an essay by David Brule, Finding a Way Forward, which describes the necessary work of reconciliation which is taking place between the different groups who now occupy the land. Mr Brule grew up in Turners Falls, Massachusetts and is of mixed Nehantic, Narragansett and Huron/Wendat descent. He is president of the Nolumbeka Project.
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The main text of the book comes from her photographs of historic markers, which were installed around the state at different times by different interest groups. The words on these markers describe early relations between Indigenous people and largely English settlers, from diverse points of view. In this way, the book explores how difficult and differing histories are written and told and how those stories change over time.