Historical Society Program to Portray Native American Culture
An upcoming presentation in Westwood will discuss creation of the Earth, the Native people's relationship with nature and their traditional ways of life, and concepts of spirituality.
On Tuesday, October 12 at 7:30 p.m., the Westwood Historical Society will kick off its monthly programs with a presentation from Gill Solomon called "In the Time Before Now."
Solomon, who is Chief Sachem of the Massachuset-Ponkapoag Tribal Council, will tell stories of the creation of the earth, the Native people's relationship with nature, traditional ways of life, and the concepts of spirituality.
"[Gill] has been a speaker at Massachusetts Cultural Council events," said Nancy Donahue, President of the Westwood Historical Society. "He speaks on subjects related to Native Americans, like oral history and Native American knowledge systems."
While many cultures record events in a linear portrayal of time, the Native people's portrayal is combined in a circle of time: the present moment, the past, and what is to come. Yesterday, last year, and a thousand years ago are some other time in The Time Before Now.
"In Native understanding of our place in the universe, there is no concept of linear time," Solomon said. "Many Native storytellers begin with the words 'In a time before the present...' indicating that the story could have happened 5,000 years ago or just a few days prior. We exist in all time, spiritually and physically. We do not see in archaeological time. All time is the same. We are still here."
The program aims to depict Native perceptions, including that of time and how their culture has been received by others.
"Basically, the message is the story of the original people of the area, we are the people from whence the commonwealth took its name," Solomon said. "Massachusetts is a corruption of our name as it does not easily roll off the tongue.
"My talk covers how time was viewed by our ancestors, the balance of the spirit and nature, the invasion of European culture, why we live in two worlds today, and I think this talk will focus upon the role of women past and present," he added.
The presentation will take place at the Westwood Historical Society's Fisher School House on October 12 at 7:30 p.m.