Before there was Rolling Ridge: Land Acknowledgement

Saturday, September 24, 2022 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM

Register Now


Before there was Rolling Ridge, North Andover, or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, generations of people known as the Pennacook tribal nation, an Algonquian-speaking tribe of the Wabanaki Confederacy belonged to this land and considered it their home.

We invite you to join us as we recognize this history on Saturday, September 24th from 10-12:30 pm with an official land acknowledgement in partnership with the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook Abenaki People and the North Andover Historical Society.  Paul and Denise Pouliot, chief speakers of the Cowasuck, will be the primary presenters, with Brian Howard of the Historical Society and Lawrence Jay of Rolling Ridge also featured.

Along with the Land Acknowledgement and historical presentations about the land, Rolling Ridge will also announce the new name for the island off our peninsula in Lake Cochichewick. ("Cochichewick" is Algonquian for "place of the great cascades").  According to local historians, the island off of the Rolling Ridge peninsula does not have a name.  As part of our new land acknowledgement, we are going to change that.

For indigenous people, the tradition of naming is rooted in the description or purpose of the land that emerges from the community.  As part of our community, you are invited to help us select a name for our island.   The two options for voting come from Paul and Denise Pouliot and are in the Alogonquian dialect.  CHOICES ARE:

  • Bizewimenahan  = A “Floating Island or Useless Island” 
  • Menahaniz = “Little Island”

Vote when registering for this event or vote on a separate ballot here.  The new name for the island will be announced on Saturday, September 24th and will become part of Rolling Ridge's intent to retell our history honestly and to honor the indigenous peoples still connected to this land.

Following our Land Acknowledgement, presentations, and island naming, you are invited to join us for a barbecue lunch (12:30-1:30 pm) along with a special presentation (2:00-4:00 pm) by Diane Wilson, author of The Seed Keeper, an award winning novel telling of a Dakhóta family’s struggle to preserve their way of life.  

Registration is required for lunch and the Diane Wilson presentation.  For more information, click here.

Although there is no fee for this program, your generous donations to this event will be given directly to COWASS North America which supports the work of Paul and Denise in sharing about the history of the Indigenous People of New England and the efforts of the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook-Abenaki People.  One of their current efforts is to raise funds to purchase their tribal graveyard that is slated for a condo development. 

About the leader(s)

Brian Howard

Brian joined the Historical Society in January 2020.  From 2007 to 2019 he ran the Oneida County History Center in Utica, New York.  A central New York native, he has over 25 years of experience in museum collections, development, and administration.  For seven years he also taught American history in the State University of New York (SUNY) system.  He has a bachelor's degree in history from SUNY Potsdam and a master's degree in museum science from Texas Tech University.

Brian’s roots run deep in Essex County—in 1634 his 10X great grandfather, Thomas Howard, emigrated from England and was one of the earliest settlers of Ipswich, where the Howard family remained for several generations. Brian and his wife, Paula, have two adult sons.

Lawrence Jay

As the Executive Director of Rolling Ridge, Rev. Dr. Lawrence Jay works in partnership with the staff to ensure that the guest experience at the Ridge is top quality.  He also partners with retreat leaders to provide excellent programming at the Ridge, and is available to speak about the ongoing ministry and historic mission of Rolling Ridge as a place of rest, retreat, and transformation.  A trained spiritual director and ordained American Baptist pastor, Larry (as he is known by friends) is a graduate of UCLA, Golden Gate Seminary, Franciscan School of Theology, American Baptist Seminary of the West, and the Gateways to God Missional Spiritual Direction Program.  Eco-spirituality is his passion (and was his doctoral dissertation), encouraging everyone to live into the fullness of our connection with nature, God, and all people.  

Denise Pouliot

Denise K. Pouliot is the Sag8moskwa (Female Head Speaker) of the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook Abenaki People and traditional artist. She currently serves on the New Hampshire Commission on Native American Affairs, is a Federal Religious Advisor, and a founding member of the Indigenous New Hampshire Collaborative Collective. Denise is also an Affiliate Faculty member of the UNH Native American and Indigenous Studies Minor and is the treasurer for COWASS North America and the Abenaki Nation of Vermont.

Paul Pouliot

Paul W. Pouliot has been the Sag8mo or Chief Speaker for the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook and Abenaki People and president of COWASS North America and the Abenaki Nation of Vermont since 1990. Paul is an Indigenous historian, lecturer, Federal Religious Advisor, and a founding member of the Indigenous New Hampshire Collaborative Collective.  He is also an Affiliate Faculty member of the UNH Native American and Indigenous Studies Minor and a founding member of the New Hampshire Commission of Native American Affairs.