Concord: 387 years ‘young’

By Joe Palumbo

This week Concord is celebrating 387 year since the newly arrived English incorporated their village. September 12 is officially considered Concord’s “birthday”.

But did you know that for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans this area was the home for the thriving settlement of the Nipmuc nation?
They called this place Musketaquid, which in the language they spoke means roughly “land among grassy river” and their name Nipmuc translates to “people of the freshwater”.
Just outside the center of town, the  Sudbury and Assabet Rivers come together to form the Concord River. The rivers made this a desirable place to live, providing abundant fish, game, and plant life, as well as a convenient transportation. These waterways were the highways of the communities. The indigenous people set up nets in the millbrook to catch fish. The  people of Musketaquid lived here seasonally, following the fish and game for thousands of years. Then about 1000 years ago, they began to practice agriculture, with corn, beans, and squash as their staple crops. Although this was the homeland of Nipmuc and Wampanoag , and had been for thousands of years, they didn’t  see themselves as “owners” of the land. They believed it was to be shared as they had shared for centuries .In Nipmuc teachings, all life started on the back of a Turtle. The Turtle is the symbol of Creators’ Wisdom, patience, and longevity. Turtle also represents Mother Earth in all her sacredness and beauty.
To learn more, The People of Musketaquid exhibit on permanent display at the Concord Museum
Also to know more about The Nipmuc peoples living throughout Massachusetts today check out the Ohketeau Cultural Center at
Happy Birthday Concord, compared to Musketaquid,  you’re still just a baby.

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