On Saturday, July 21, 2012, ACQTC (The Algonquian Confederacy of the Quinnipiac Tribal Council), otherwise known as the “Long-Water-Land Nation” held their annual Powwow/Social/Feast (known as a “Nickommo” to the Algonquian-speaking people of what is now New England). They celebrated with their ancient friends at the Old Stone Church of East Haven, CT.
Last year (June 25, 2011), they celebrated the 300-year anniversary of the church. The Quinnipiac had helped them build the church out of stone and were provided a sanctuary area behind the church during difficult times (circa 1711). At last year’s event a ratification of their original treaties of 1638-1639 occurred as they performed the ancient sacred Bond of the Covenant ritual.
Well, they decided to do it again this year as a combined Social, Powwow, and Nickommo (Indian feast) at the Old Stone Church grounds.
They all met outside the church to enjoy the atmosphere, as Quinnipiac leaders greeted the public, the press, and invited guests.
Social dances were performed as elders, adults, and children celebrated the Summer Solstice or “Nepun.” Ed Wolf-Walker Conley, Quinnipiac War-Chief and carver of sacred masks, recited “The Song of Transformation” (strong prose – with traditional drums and snapping turtle shell rattles providing the beat). The Song was written by this writer to celebrate 12,000 years of survival in the Long-Water-Land and to express thankfulness for all our blessings. This is similar in concept to the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving oration, only in modern form.
Sachin Surenda, a 15-year old boy who is attending Harvard Summer School and is a student-intern of ACQTC, came with his mother (who is from India) to join us and learn about our culture and traditions.
Another feature was the annual adoption ceremony. The Quinnipiac are an exogamous nation who have adopted outsiders into their family for hundreds, if not thousands of years. This year Kathy Red-Squirrel Mallory was officially adopted by the Quinnipiac. She is the first member of the Old Stone Church to be adopted and is now the God-Daughter of me, Iron Thunderhorse, and my wife, Little Owl, who is Quinnipiac Headwoman.
Another person of note to be adopted this year was Jerald Hernandez of Mescalero, New Mexico, who is Native American Chaplain for the Estelle and Terrell Units in the Texas Prison System. He is the coordinator and I serve as pipe-carrier and elder of the circles. As we discussed different issues in our traditional talking-circle, he said, “It is important we provide a good example for these young inmates – so I want to be adopted by the Quinnipiac to show our unity and brotherhood.” The traditional name given him for his adoption was “True-Heart” or “Werra-Mittah” in the Wampano-Quiripi R-dialect.
Paul “Coyote-Song” Tobin, of the Caretakers Society, was also officially adopted into the family. Coyote-Song runs the Quinnipiac Sweat Lodge program, as well as being our official carver of beautifully-designed and carefully-detailed sacred ceremonial pipes.
Another important special guest at the event was Robert Hawk-Storm Bergin, who was honored at the Social as Chief Councilor to the Quinnipiac Maweomi or “Central Council Fire” and as Spokesman for the Schaghticoke Indian Reservation of Kent, Connecticut.
Chuck Medeiros was another important guest at the event. He is the creative designer of a joint-effort known locally as the “Quinnipiac Sustainable Community Development Project Alliance” in which areas around AMTRAK Stations (beginning in New Haven – up into Massachusetts and beyond) will be re-developed using a number of innovative and environmentally-friendly concepts. Quinnipiac will act as senior mentors and will operate an exclusive tourism department, providing services free of charge to senior citizens and youth, who wish to visit the ancient Quinnipiac trails and landmarks, as well as a half-dozen Connecticut parks associated with our Quinnipiac history.
This social event ended with a traditional pot luck feast and a media Question & Answer session. Local newspapers and television stations were invited to participate. Arts and crafts were offered as part of ACQTC’s non-profit fundraising efforts. ACQTC is a non-status indigenous nation that is completely autonomous and independent, in the tradition of our ancient Long-Water-Land people’s occupation of this area since time immemorial. ACQTC Enterprises, QTC Press Publications, and a collective co-op alliance provides self-reliant sustainability.