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Return of Narrannemmit, a forgotten Mahican Chief

Updated on April 18, 2012

A poem for the Chief of the Petuquapoem

I wrote this poem to honor a Native American man who lived four hundred years ago. He lived on a island near what is now, Albany, N.Y. His land, today is called the City of Rensselaer and was turned over to the Van Rensselaer family in 1630. Narrannemmit called his forest land along the Hudson the land of the Petuquapoem. A noisy stream, called the Poetanock flowed out of the pine covered hillside into the river. It poured out into the river at two locations right near his island. This land was originally pine flats. The river had many islands covered with pine forest. The Mahicans called this river Mohicannituck.

Even today the Land of the Mahican People is still being threatened. Recently, a project was proposed to build a bridge over Papscannee Island Natural Preserve. This is a sacred Mahican site. A bridge over the creek and pond will kill all the turtles and destroy the nature preserve by blocking all future sunlight. The Town of East Greenbush is proposing another project. They want a marina built there. Naturally the Mahicans are opposed to it's contruction. So, please consider writing letters to Governor Andrew Cuomo to oppose these horrible projects. It is time to thank the Native Americans for all we have.

Return of Narrannemmit

Part I

I wish I could return to the Petuquapoem

and walk through forest dew.

The islands longed for no one

nor, the old trees of dark green pine

In the shadows of the clear blue river;

a river world left behind.

Flowing one way like liquid silver,

The other as fluid gold.

The magic of the sun touched each and every wave

refracting light from the heavenly sky.

White wings flash down where purity realms

the gulls that called

diving deep and low to feed.

They flew away fast through the diamond dust

when sunshine mirrored the waves.

Part II

Under the pines that towered all through the night

a chief once sat by his fire;

his people by his side.

The people praised the endless stars

that filled the sky with love.

How could he have known

that the current wave

brought change to all he knew?

The life he lived would vanish away.

His world would come to an end.

The islands he treasured would be no more,

his river a poisoned friend.


By Joanne Kathleen Farrell, author and historian

For more information on the Mahican people please visit hubpages Last of the Mahican Lands.

Right now, there is a plan to build a bridge over a historic and sacred Native American Mahican site and a marina. The bridge will block sunlight and destroy Papscanee Island Natural Preserve. Please write to Governor Andrew Cuomo and tell him this is wrong.


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