The Pow-Wow Oak Story
Breaking News: The majestic Pow-Wow Oak has been cut down! On May 23, the City of Lowell cut down the tree, because of rot damage that brought down some of the larger limbs.
order to preserve its legacy, we are hoping to convince the National
Historic Park of Lowell to provide a space where a section of the tree,
and perhaps an interactive multi-media presentation can be installed.
We believe visitors to the City of Lowell will appreciate the sense of
history such an exhibit would provide. If you agree, please contact the
National Historic Park of Lowell, MA.
The majestic PowWow
Oak is an historic
monument - more than 300 years old - representing both our local Native
American and European heritages. It was a gathering place for Native
Americans performing sacred ceremonies. It was also a place where
Revolutionary War militia gathered as they made their way to Lexington
and Concord. So it has great significance
to both cultures. Plymouth has a Rock, Lowell had the Pow-Wow Oak!
yet it has been neglected for many years: It has been encroached upon
by development, it has been damaged by landscaping
activities, fence posts have punctured its mighty roots... and now it has been cut down.
This was The Last Pow-Wow Oak in New England.
The Pow-Wow Oak was recognized by the American Forests' Historic Trees Program as a "Historic Tree."
Pow-Wow Oak has been declared by the Lowell City Council to be a Public
Tree on Public property.
We have a protective space around the tree that is accessible to the public, so that we can all enjoy the history of this magnificant tree, as described on the plaque and signage at the site where it stood.
It was thanks
to the help of many concerned citizens, who raised the funds
needed to install permanent boundary markers delineating the
right-of-way in which the tree lived.
MEANING OF THE WORD POWWOW
Powwow, Pow-wow, Pauwau, Pouwou, Pawwau, Paw-waw, powwaa..ect, is a word that originates amongst the southern New England Algonkian dialects ( Narragansett/Nipmuc, Massachusett/Wampanoag).
The meaning of the word in it's most original form, is the practice or performance of medicine. This medicine was used by natural and supernatural means. Natural medicine with the use of herbs, supernatural medicine was used by prayer, and the skillful willpower of the Manitou (a spirit of power within all living things) that was given to the people by their Creator. A Pauwau, was a distinguished title of a spiritual leader and practitioner of the ancient medicine.
Pow-wow, was also attributed to a meeting where Pow-wowing was done. Sometimes for big decisions of the tribe such as diplomacy, war, trade, and the general spiritual direction of the people.THERE WAS NO SEPARATION OF RELIGION AND POLITICS IN THE CULTURE BACK THEN!!! These meetings could have lasted for hours or days.
In 1633, Gov. John Winthrop, of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, passed a law forbidding Pow-wowing:
it is Ordered that no Indian shall at any time Powaw or
perform outward worship to their False Gods, or to the
Devil, in any part of our jurisdiction, whether they be
such as shall come hither, and if any shall transgress
this law the Powawer shall pay five pounds, the procurer
five pounds, and every other countenancing by his
presence or otherwise being of age of discretion, twenty
shilling, and every Town shall have power to restrain all
Indians that shall come into their towns, from Prophaning
the Lord's day." [1633. 37,40,41,42,46,48,56,57,58.]
THE COLONIAL LAWS OF MASSACHUSETTS. REPRINTED FROM THE EDITION OF 1660, WITH THE SUPPLEMENTS TO 1672. CONTAINING ALSO, THE BODY OF LIBERTIES OF 1641.
- by Edward J O'Keefe Jr.
History of The
POW-WOW Tree - by
Edward J O'Keefe Jr.
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