Summit and trail are renamed after Native American outcry

April 9, 2021 GMT

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. (AP) — A summit of a Massachusetts mountain with a literary connection is being renamed, along with one of its trails, after outcry from Native American groups that call the area home.

Indian Monument Trail is being renamed the Mohican Monument Trail, and Squaw Peak, a summit of Monument Mountain, is now Peeskawso Peak, according to a Friday announcement from the Trustees of Reservations, a conservation group that oversees the land.

The conservation nonprofit said it made the changes after more than a year of collaboration with the Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohicans.


“Being able to rename these areas in our homelands is a great honor but also an opportunity to take back our history and to right a wrong,” said Heather Bruegl, the director of cultural affairs for the Stockbridge Munsee Community.

The trustees are also working to reframe the area’s history to honor the Indigenous people who call it home. New signs are being installed this month to support that effort.

In the past, the conservation group has focused on the mountain’s significance as a source of inspiration to 19th-century novelists and poets.

The writers Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville met for the first time at a picnic hike up Monument Mountain, and their conversation is believed to have given Melville inspiration for his 1851 novel “Moby-Dick.”

Brian Cruey, a regional director for the trustees, thanked the Stockbridge Munsee Community for “helping us set the record straight.”

“Making our properties more inclusive and accessible so all of our visitors feel welcome is at the heart of our mission, and we realize that entails listening, learning and making changes,” he said.