BWHS’s New Home
Berkshire Waldorf High School announced on June 30 that, based on an ongoing multi-year fundraising campaign, they will begin renovations of Procter Hall, the Old Town Hall on Main Street in Stockbridge, as the future home of the school.
BWHS Executive Director and Faculty Chair Dr. Stephen Sagarin notes that this project will enable the school “to double our current square footage, including creation of more and larger classrooms and a science lab, while remaining in Stockbridge, within walking distance of the town center.”
Berkshire Waldorf High School relocated from Great Barrington to Stockbridge in 2013, and currently holds classes in rented space on Pine Street, up the hill from the Red Lion Inn. This year, the school is 20 years old and recently graduated its 16th senior class. The school’s tagline, “Small school, big world,” conveys its commitment to the community and beyond.
Historic Structure from 1829
“This also realizes the Town of Stockbridge’s dream of finding a permanent use for an 1829 historic structure,” added Teresa O’Brient, BWHS Board of Trustees Chairperson. Ms. O’Brient is a long time Stockbridge resident and owner of the Stockbridge Country Store. “We are so excited to finally have the resources to fund the remediation and renovation that will open a new chapter in the story of the Old Town Hall.”
“Win, win, win”
Stockbridge’s First Congregational Church, UCC, voted unanimously on June 26 to approve a memorandum of understanding between the Church and the School, to bring the building back to life. Church and School have formed a close working relationship over the past two years of the pandemic, when BWHS used the sanctuary and other rooms in the church building during the school week for socially-distanced classroom space. Both see this partnership as “win, win, win,” according to Pastor Brent Damrow, “for the Church, the School, and the Town.”
The school plans to partner with an architect to design the space and an engineer to assess the building’s needs. The Town of Stockbridge will need to approve aspects of any plan, probably later in the summer or in the early fall. Once this is complete, work on renovating the building for classes will begin as soon as possible.
Sagarin noted, “While we understand the complexity, we believe Procter Hall is uniquely suited to the long term needs of the High School. We are excited to partner with the Church and the Town to negotiate a transaction that is in the interest of all parties.”
How to Help
Berkshire Waldorf High School provides an education for adolescents that seeks truth, develops imagination, nurtures growth, fosters responsibility, and honors inner freedom in an atmosphere of academic excellence, artistic fulfillment, openness, and mutual respect. It offers Honors-level, college preparatory academics and is integrated into the larger community, including renowned artists’ studios, labs, libraries, and gyms, Shakespeare & Company’s Fall Festival of Shakespeare, field trips to events and museums in the Northeast, and international travel, including Germany, South and Central America, and France. Spots are currently available in Grades 9-12 for the 2022-23 school year.
First Nations Day
We humbly and gratefully acknowledge that our school is learning and gathering in the unceded homelands of the Muhheconeew (Moh-He-Con-Nuck, or Mohican) Nation, who are the indigenous people of this land. Despite the tremendous hardship of being forced from their ancestral home, today their community resides in Wisconsin and is known as the Stockbridge-Munsee Community.
We also honor the elders and land keepers, past and present, of First Nations in the four directions, including Schaghticoke and Lenape to the south, Nipmuc, Wampanoag and Massachuset to the east, Abenaki and Algonquin to the north, and Haudenosaunee to the west.
There are many celebrations and opportunities in the Berkshires this month to learn more about the First Nations of this sacred land.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Great Barrington
Drumming, traditional Native American songs, speeches, and a procession culminating in a ceremonial blessing of the Housatonic River will mark the local observance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Great Barrington on Monday, October 11. For details and to register, visit www.allianceforaviablefuture.org
First Nations Day at BWS
We’ll light the fires for First Nations Day, Tuesday, October 12, when Abenaki children’s book author, editor and storyteller Joseph Bruchac visits our school to share Northeastern indigenous nations’ stories, songs and drumming. You can find the extensive list of Dr. Bruchac’s books and stories here, and copies of many of them in the Mason and Ramsdell libraries, as well as at Bookloft and other local bookstores.
Muh-he-con-ne-ok: The People of the Waters That Are Never Still showcases the story of the Stockbridge-Munsee Communities past, present, and future.
Stockbridge Mission House and Walking Tour
Stockbridge Mission House now hosts a Stockbridge-Munsee Community-curated Mohican Exhibit.
And stroll through Mohican History with this Walking Tour of Main Street, Stockbridge, MA.
Stockbridge-Munsee Archeological Dig
The Mohican Tribal Historic Preservation Office conducted archaeological digs at “Indiantown”—now known as Stockbridge—this summer, to try and locate the 1739 meetinghouse site and the site of the ox roast that George Washington ordered there in honor of Mohican soldiers, in gratitude for their support, at the end of the Revolutionary War.
Sheffield Historical Society – “The Mohican Journey: Homelands, History, and Hope”
The Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans has worked for decades in research, preservation, education, and governance to promote equality and programs that strengthen their culture and community heritage. Making connections to their ancestral homelands continues to be of sacred value. This exhibit combines a variety of art forms, artifacts, audio and video elements, including content from Dorothy David’s “A Brief History of the Mohican Nation” as well as many personal narratives. Outdoor exhibit on view through Oct 11, weekends 11a-4p and Indigenous Peoples Day, Monday, Oct 11.
First Nations Books
Elder-approved books from the Stockbridge-Munsee Arvid E. Miller Library:
- The Mohicans of Stockbridge by Patrick Frasier
- The Mohican World: 1680-1750 by Shirley W. Dunn
- Stockbridge Past and Present by Electa Jones (contains an oral history of the Mohicans from the mid-1700s)
- Medicine Generations by Misty Cook (medicine plants of the homelands, aka the Berkshires)
- The Arvid E. Miller Library also has great stickers of the Stockbridge-Munsee logo, “Many Trails,” symbolizing endurance, strength and hope.
The Forge Foundation, located in the Mohican homeland near Hudson, NY, has launched an indigenous fellowship program to support the work of indigenous artists and activists.
Papscanee Island in the Muhheakantuck (Hudson) River
Read the amazing “land-back” account of how this island in the Hudson River – with a preserve that remains untouched since 1609 – has been returned to its original owners, the Mohican Nation, and you can visit it.
Lear More from the mohican.com website
STOCKBRIDGE-MUNSEE HISTORY VIRTUAL TALKS
OTHER RELATED TALKS
-Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States
-Jean Maria O’Brien: Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians out of Existence in New England
-David Treuer: The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee