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Overlooked history at Academy through June 3

SALISBURY — Student work on overlooked aspects of the  history of the Northwest Corner is on display through June 3 at the Academy Building, home of the Salisbury Association.

“Coloring Our Past” has contributions from Salisbury Central School, Sharon Center School, Cornwall Consolidated School, Housatonic Valley Regional High School, Salisbury School, and Indian Mountain School.

The work was included in the recent Troutbeck Symposium.

The HVRHS section has a dramatic overhead photo of the high school campus in Falls Village, with the Housatonic River snaking around it.

Accompanying the photo is this statement: “Housatonic Valley Regional High School acknowledges with gratitude the Wechquadnach people, the People of the Curving Channel, upon whose ancestral lands our school stands. We show our respect to the Wechquadnach ancestors whose land was appropriated by colonists, and their descendants who continue to live in Region One and beyond.”

On May 6, Salisbury’s own Tim Binzen, an archaeologist and anthropologist  who is the Regional Tribal Liaison for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the region, spoke about the Wechquadnach and Weatogue communities.

Much of Binzen’s research is on the colonial period, roughly 1675 to 1740. He said that as late as the 1730s, Connecticut’s colonial government had very little idea of who or what was in the western part of the state.

So as settlers moved into what is now the tri-state region where Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts meet, “there was not a lot of clarity” regarding political boundaries and who was supposed to be where.

“The natives were aware that things were changing very quickly, changes that would affect their way of life.”

Trying to get an accurate idea of how many Native Americans were in the area is complicated by inconsistent town records, Binzen said.

“Natives were often ignored or not included in vital records — births, deaths, deeds.”

The exhibit packs a lot of material in a relatively small space and repays repeat visits.

But you’ll have to hurry as the physical exhibit comes down Saturday, June 3.

The Academy Building at 24 Main Street is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The exhibit is free.

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