Friday, July 30, 2021

Week 4 and Squantum's Core

This week, we went to the aquarium, Quincy shore, and Pleasure Bay for the beach event. On Tuesday, every group took a trip to the aquarium. It was a really great experience getting to spend time with everyone all at once since we haven't since orientation. My favorite part was observing the giant tank from above when stingrays and other fish came to the surface and the divers jumped in and out (what an amazing job!) On Thursday, Syan, Grace, and I spent the day at pleasure bay working the beach event. We had a female lobster and crab, and I learned so much about them and their habitats. I leanred that lobsters turn blue when theyre out of the water for too long, that the smaller claw is their dominant hand, and that they pee out of their face! It was extremely fun sharing these facts with the kids because I saw their faces light up with excitement and confusion, eagar to learn more. On Wednesday, we started at Wollaston Beach and eventually migrated towards the Squantum Marshes. Walking through the trail, my group and I read a plaque about the history of Squantum that really piqued my interest. The plaque read,  "Moswetuset Hummock." I recalled that Moswetuset, or "hill shaped like an arrowhead," is believed to be the origin of the name, Massachusetts. Immediately, I knew these marshes had significance to the history of our native Americans. 

        Moswetuset Hummock received its name from the seatholder, Chickataubut, who governed the Indians in this part of the land. He had his rule on a small hill containing around an acre and a half southward of Boston. This hill is in the shape of an Indian's arrowhead, which in their language are called "mos,' or "mons," as a hill in their language is "wetuset." Therefore, the sachem's decided to name this his tribal area Moswetuset, signifying the hill in the shape of an arrowhead, and his people, the Moswetuset Indians. Later, with a small variation of the word, it became Massachusetts.  A hummock is a geological term; a piece of forested ground rising above a marsh, less than fifty feet in height. Earth hummocks, in contrast to ice hummocks, are known as small rounded knolls, mounds of land, or hillocks. Hummocks are believed to be formed by colder conditions when permafrost was likely present in the ground. 

   These marshes were home to the native Americans during the spring and summer, as the wetlands and soil provided them nutritious and necessary foods including shellfish, fish, waterfowl, and migratory birds. Their tribe would send small hunting parties toward the Blue Hills in order to hunt other necessities for their diet other than fish, including deer, rabbits, and a different variety of birds. The land and area we were exploring gained significance nearly 8,000 years ago when Black's Creek's estuary, a place where the tide meets the river, started to form. Chickataubut was visited by Captain Myles Standish and the Indian guide Squanto in 1621 in order to negotiate. In 1617 an epidemic, probably a disease brought on a visiting European ship, ravaged the native population here and along the New England coastline. Estimates are that 80% of the people died. By the time of King Philip’s War, 1675-77, little presence of the Moswetuset tribe remained in the town.

In 1970, Modertuset Hommuck was formally recognized and added to the United States National Register of Historic Places in Massachusetts. It was recognized by the United States National Register and Native American descendants, the Ponkapoag people. Located on East Squantum Street, the northern end of Wollaston Beach, Quincy Bay, it is now a great little place to visit. It offers spectacular views of the water and has a nice, relaxing trail to hike along. It is accessible by car and by walking if you live in the Quincy Bay area. 

Beach Bash:

  Moswetuset Hummock:

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