Dawnland Voices


Dawnland Voices

An Anthology of Indigenous Writing from New England

Edited by Siobhan Senier

716 pages
1 drawing


September 2014


$45.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

September 2014


$45.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

September 2014


$45.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

"Hafen has done a great service to the study of American Indian literature by collecting in one book several published and unpublished pieces. . . . A wonderful and enlightening collection."—Choice

Dawnland Voices calls attention to the little-known but extraordinarily rich literary traditions of New England’s Native Americans. This pathbreaking anthology includes both classic and contemporary literary works from ten New England indigenous nations: the Abenaki, Maliseet, Mi’kmaq, Mohegan, Narragansett, Nipmuc, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Schaghticoke, and Wampanoag.

Through literary collaboration and recovery, Siobhan Senier and Native tribal historians and scholars have crafted a unique volume covering a variety of genres and historical periods. From the earliest petroglyphs and petitions to contemporary stories and hip-hop poetry, this volume highlights the diversity and strength of New England Native literary traditions. 

Dawnland Voices introduces readers to the compelling and unique literary heritage in New England, banishing the misconception that “real” Indians and their traditions vanished from that region centuries ago. 

Author Bio

Siobhan Senier is an associate professor of English and the James H. and Claire Short Hayes Professor in the Humanities at the University of New Hampshire. She is the author of Voices of American Indian Assimilation and Resistance: Helen Hunt Jackson, Sarah Winnemucca, and Victoria Howard and editor of the website Writing of Indigenous New England.



"[Dawnland Voices] puts another nail in the coffin of the persistent fantasy that "real" Indians and their traditions have vanished east of the Mississippi."—Joy Porter, Times Literary Supplement

"[Dawnland Voices is] a significant contribution to Native American and indigenous studies and to US literature."—S. K. Bernardin, Choice

"This is an impressive collection, useful to anyone interested in literature and history, and especially useful for educators who teach anything in regard to New England."—Sharity Bessett, SAIL

“Anyone with any interest in American Indian literature or indigenous literature of any kind will treasure this innovative book. Siobhan Senier and her learned contributors show us a New England and an America that have been here all along without most Americans suspecting it.”—Robert Dale Parker, author of The Invention of Native American Literature

Dawnland Voices is a collection of writing that is as bright as the morning sun. It’s an amazingly comprehensive collection of the literary work of dozens of indigenous authors from an often overlooked part of Native America, the long-embattled Northeast. . . . The reading public needs to be awakened to the continued existence and the cultural heritage of our peoples, as well as the literary excellence of our many authors. No book that I know of does a better job of that than this brilliantly edited anthology.”—Joseph Bruchac, author of Our Stories Remember

Table of Contents

Introduction by Siobhan Senier

Introduction by Jaime Battiste

Chief Stephen Augustine
Mi’kmaq Creation Story
Grand Council of the Mi’kmaq Nation
The Covenant Chain
Elsie Charles Basque (b. 1916)
From Here to There
Rita Joe (1932–2007)
From Song of Rita Joe
Daniel N. Paul (b. 1938)
From We Were Not the Savages
Marie Battiste (b. 1949)
Structural Unemployment: The Mi’kmaq Experience
James Sakej Youngblood Henderson (b. 1944)
Mi’kmaq Treaties
Lorne Simon (1960–1994)
From Stones and Switches
Lindsay Marshall (b. 1960)
Clay Pots and Bones
Mainkewin? (Are You Going to Maine?)
Jaime Battiste (b. 1979)
From “Understanding the Progression of Mi’kmaq Law”
Alice Azure (b. 1940)
Repatriation Soliloquy
Mi’kmaq Haiku
Starlit Simon (b. 1983)
Without a Microphone
In Quest of Road Kill

Further Reading

Introduction by Juana Perley

Gabe Acquin (1839–1901)
Chief James Paul
Letter to Edward Sapir, 1911
Henry “Red Eagle” Perley (1885–1972)
The Red Man’s Burden
Shirley Bear
Freeport, Maine
History Resource Material
Baqwa’sun, Wuli Baqwa’sun
September Morning
Fragile Freedoms
Andrea Bear Nicholas
Linguicide, the Killing of Languages, and the Case for Immersion Education
Chief Brenda Commander (b. 1958)
Open Letter to Barack Obama
Mihku Paul (b. 1958)
The Ballad of Gabe Acquin
The Water Road
20th Century PowWow Playland
Trade in the 21st Century

Further Reading

Introduction by Donald Soctomah

Sopiel Soctomah (1755–1820)
Wampum Reading
Chief Francis Joseph Neptune (1735–1834)
Speech, 1813
Deacon Sockabasin (1790–1888)
Save the Fish and Wildlife and Return Our Land!
Joseph Stanislaus (1800–1880)
"You don’t make the trees . . ."
Sopiel Selmore (1814–1903)
Megaque’s Last Battle
Tomah Joseph (1837–1914)
The Power of One’s Will
Lewis Mitchell (1847–1930)
Speech before the Maine State Legislature, 1887
Letter to Charles Godfrey Leland
Sylvia Gabriel (1929–2003)
Wounded Be
From Dusk to Dawn
Peter Mitchell (1929–1978)
Open Letter to Americans
Mary Ellen Stevens (Socobasin, 1947–1988)
Passamaquoddy Girl
Donald Soctomah (b. 1955)
Skicin Love
Forever Tribal Love
Sacred Color Red
Vera Francis (b. 1958)
Technology Meets Ecology: Passamaquoddy Bay
Dawna Meader (b. 1959)
Gordon Island
Dream of the Hunter’s Dance
Susie Mitchell Sutton (b. 1963)
My Story of the Dragonfly and My Sister Rae-Lee and My MOM!
Wendy Newell Dyer (b. 1964)
A Warrior’s Homecoming
Russell Bassett (b. 1967)
A Measure of Timelessness
Majestic Beauty
Of Life from Life
One Aspect of the Journey of Life
Kani Malsom (b. 1969)
To My Brothers
Rolfe Richter (b. 1969)
"Spring drew its first breath the previous day . . ."
Christine Downing (b. 1972)
A Summer Day in Motahkomikuk
Maggie Neptune Dana (b. 1973)
Coming Together
Sacred Hoop Ceremony
Marie Francis (b. 1975)
Diminished Dreams
Natalie Dana (b. 1985)
Fragmented People
With This Pencil
Jenny Soctomah (b. 1985)
"The spirit is deep within us . . ."
Ellen Nicholas (b. 1987)
The Heart of Sipayik
Sipayik Reservation 1974
Cassandra Dana (b. 1992)
Kci Woliwon

Further Reading

Introduction by Carol Dana

Penobscot Governors and Indians in Council
Maine State Power
Joseph Nicolar (1827–1894)
The Scribe of the Penobscots Sends Us His Weekly Message
Molly Spotted Elk (1903–1977)
We’re In the Chorus Now
"I’m free in the world of these carpeted hills . . ."
"Some ten or few years so ago or more . . ."
Baby Girl
The Lost Soul of the Wilderness
The Dreamer—Moodas (The Dream Spirit)
Northern Lights
Fred Ranco (1932–2008)
The Avenger
ssipsis (b. 1941)
Injun Laugh
Gewh Huz
Donna Loring (b. 1948)
The Dark Ages of Education and a New Hope: Teaching Native American History in Maine Schools
Carol Dana (b. 1952)
Penobscot Home Nation
We’re Like the Moss on the Rock
Caribou Lake Winter
"Mother of three didn’t know . . ."
"Pensive in her rocking chair . . ."
A Walk to Ktadhin
Rhonda Frey (1955–2009)
Growing Up with Stereotypes: A Native Woman’s Perspective
John Bear Mitchell (b. 1968)
What’s It Like Today? (from the Ulnerbeh series)
Sherri Mitchell (b. 1969)
Nokomis Speaks: Message to the Seventh Generation
Sky Woman
The Lodge
Nick Bear (b. 1985)
Dry Funk
Treaty of 2010
february weather makes me feel like this

Further Reading

Introduction by Lisa Brooks

Samuel Numphow
Letter to Thomas Henchman
Petitions, c. 1685
Petition at No. 2, Kwinitekw, 1747
Joseph Laurent (1839–1917)
Preface to New Familiar Abenakis and English Dialogues
Henry Lorne Masta (1853–?)
From Abenaki Indian Legends, Grammar and Place-Names
Robert James Tahamont (1891–?)
Chief Teedyuscung
The Masquerade Ball
Stephen Laurent (1909–2001)
The Abenakis of Vermont
Claudia Mason Chicklas (1926–2008)
A Profile in Courage
Aunt Mary and Uncle Frank
Joseph Bruchac III (b. 1942)
From Bowman’s Store
Burial Places along the Long River
Carol Willette Bachofner (b. 1947)
Abenaki Divorce
Winter Bringer
In the Abenaki Manner
Naming Water
The Old Man’s Walk
Planting Moon Kikas
Burial Dress
Cheryl Savageau (b. 1950)
Poison in the Pond
Where I Want Them
Swift River—Kancamagus
Before Moving on to Plymouth from Cape Cod—1620
Amber Necklace
Looking for Indians
French Girls Are Fast
Donna Laurent Caruso (b. 1951)
The Removal Period
Nnd Haiku: A Trilogy
Abenaki Filmmaker Earns Luminaria Award
Margaret M. Bruchac (b. 1953)
War Wounds: Sophie Senecal Goes to Washington
Praying Spoils the Hunting
Suzanne S. Rancourt (b. 1959)
Take From My Hair—Memories of Change
Fanning Fire
Singing Across the River
Even When the Sky Was Clear
When the Air Is Dry
James Bruchac (b. 1968)
Tracking My Nature
Jesse Bruchac (b. 1972)
Gluskonba’s Fish Trap (Klosk8ba Adelahigan)

Further Reading

Introduction by Cheryl Watching Crow Stedtler

Wowaus (James Printer, c. 1640–c. 1709)
Note Tacked to a Tree, Medfield, Massachusetts, 1676[?]
Ransom Note for Mary Rowlandson
Ebenezer Hemenway (1804–c. 1878)
On the Death of His Mother, February 17, 1847
Zara Ciscoe Brough (1919–1988)
Days of Hassanamesit
Corrine Bostic (1927–1981)
Ballad for Bubba
Dedication to the Young: Cuttin’ a Spoonful
For Teachers: A Self-Reminder
Richard Spotted Rabbit Massey (1934–2012)
Hepsibeth Bowman Crosman Hemenway, 1763–1847
Edwin W. Morse Sr. (Chief Wise Owl, 1929–2010)
Chief Wise Owl’s Prayer
Kitt Little Turtle (George Munyan, 1940–2004)
Coyote Spirit
Nipmuck Legend
Legend about Hobbamock
The Heat Moon
Nancy Bright Sky Harris (b. 1952)
To Carol and David with Love
Woman of the Warrior
Wind from Summer
The Gifted Porcupine Roach Maker
Creator of Life
Hear Your People
There Was a Time
Hawk Henries (b. 1956)
Carrying the Flute
Cheryl Watching Crow Stedtler (b. 1960)
Honoring a Father and a Son
Full Circle
Never Too Late to Dance
"Circle low . . ."
Cheryll Toney Holley (b. 1962)
A Brief Look at Nipmuc History
Bruce Curliss (b. 1965)
“Authentic,” Power, and Stuck in My Craw
Woman, Mother, Sister, Daughter, Lover
Larry Spotted Crow Mann (b. 1967)
From “Deal Me In”
Heart in the Clouds
The Crow
Sarah “She Paints Horses” Stedtler (b. 1997)
The Fresh Water People
An Indian Gathering
The Dancer’s Foot

Further Reading

Introduction by Joan Tavares Avant (Granny Squannit)

Early Texts in Massachusett
Petition from Gay Head Sachem Mittark, 1681
Petition from Gay Head, 1749
Petition from Gay Head to Commissioners of New England Company
Alfred DeGrasse (1890–1978)
About Poison Ivy
The Legend of the Red Eagle
Mabel Avant (1892–1964)
The Voice of Our Forsaken Church
Helen Manning (1919–2008)
From Moshup’s Footsteps
Frank James (Wamsutta, 1923–2001)
National Day of Mourning
Helen Attaquin (1923–1993)
How Martha’s Vineyard Came to Be
From “There Are Differences”
Russell Peters (Fast Turtle, 1929–2002)
From The Wampanoags of Mashpee
Anne Foxx (b. 1950)
Historical Continuities in Indigenous Women’s Political Activism: An Interview with Joan Tavares Avant
Linda Coombs
Holistic History: Including the Wampanoag in an Exhibit at Plimoth Plantation
Paula Peters
Wampanoag Reflections
Beware: Not All Terms Are Fair Game
Robert Peters (b. 1962)
Red Sun Rising
Mwalim *7)/Morgan James Peters
From A Mixed Medicine Bag

Further Reading

Introduction by Dawn Dove

Letters to Eleazar Wheelock (1760s)
Thomas Commuck (1805–1855)
Letter to Wilkins Updike, 1837
Letter to Elisha Potter, 1844
The Narragansett Dawn (1935–1936)
Editorial (May 1935)
The Boston Marathon (May 1935)
Editorial (August 1935)
“Indian Meeting Day,” by Fred V. Brown (August 1935)
Narragansett Tongue: Lesson 11 (March 1936)
Fireside Stories (July 1936)
Ella Wilcox Sekatau
I Found Him on a Hill Top
Life and Seasons Must Surely Change
For the Children
Sometimes I Wish I Could Rage Like You
Sure I’m Still Hanging Around
Paulla Dove Jennings
Dawn Dove
Alienation of Indigenous Students in the Public School System
In Order to Understand Thanksgiving, One Must Understand the Sacredness of the Gift000
John Christian Hopkins (b. 1960)
Troopers Lead Attack on Narragansett Reservation
Tarzan Brown
William O.
Sad Country Songs
Nuweetooun School (2003–2009)
“Roaring Brook,” by Lorén M. Spears
“The Four Animals” and “The Three Sisters,” by Dasan Everett
“The creator made us all . . . ,” by Darrlyn Sand Fry
“Sky woman falling from the sky . . . ,” by Laurel Spears
Thawn Harris (b. 1978)
“Thank You, met Colleagues . . .”
Eleanor Dove Harris (b. 1979)
Letter to California State University Administration, Faculty, and Student Body
The Pursuit of Happiness (2005)
From “Happiness in Our Own Words,” by Ella Sekatau and Dawn Dove
From “Pursuit of Happiness: An Indigenous View on Education,” by Lorén M. Spears

Further Reading

Introduction by Stephanie M. Fielding

Samson Occom (1723–1791)
Montaukett Tribe to the State of New York
Mohegan and Niantic Tribes to the Connecticut Assembly
“The most remarkable . . . Appearance of Indian Tribes”
Joseph Johnson (1751–1776)
From His Diaries
Letter to Samson Occom
Fidelia Fielding (1827–1908)
Man’s Relationship with God
The Truth of Tomorrow
Mary Virginia Morgan (1897–1988)
Address at 100th Anniversary of the Mohegan Church
Gladys Tantaquidgeon (1899–2005)
See the Beauty Surrounding Us
An Affectionate Portrait of Frank Speck
Jayne Fawcett (b. 1936)
Attic Dawn
Pan’s Song
Faith Damon Davison (b. 1940)
Mohegan Food
Stephanie M. Fielding (b. 1945)
The Hoop
Sharon I. Maynard (b. 1953)
Long Island Sound
A Winter’s Morn
William Donehey (b. 1955)
His Lover
Spirit Teacher
The Course of Love
Joe Smith (b. 1956)
Fade into White
Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel (b. 1960)
The Window
Alysson Troffer (b. 1960)
The Little Girl on the Hook
Eric Maynard (b. 1976)
The Circle
“Native American Professor . . .”
Madeline Fielding Sayet (b. 1989)
When the Whippoorwill Calls

Further Reading

Introduction by Trudie Lamb Richmond and Ruth Garby Torres

Howard N. Harris (1900–1967)
Letter to the Department of State Parks
Irving A. Harris (1931–2005)
Letter to Brenden Keleher
Trudie Lamb Richmond (b. 1931)
Why Does the Past Matter? Eunice Mauwee’s Resistance Was Our Path to Survival
Growing Up Indian (or Trying To) in Southern New England
Paulette Crone-Morange (1943–2004)
From “The Schaghticoke and English Law: A Study of Community Survival”
Ruth Garby Torres (b. 1955)
Eulogy for Irving Harris
Aileen Harris McDonough (b. 1975)
How I Became a (Paid) Writer
On Loss
Wunneanatsu Cason (b. 1980)
I’m Off to See the Wizard
Deployments and Motherhood
Garry Meeches Jr. (b. 1997)
Polar Bear Poem
I Am
Senses: Hear
What Never Dies
Build a Poem

Further Reading

Source Acknowledgments

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