STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Commonwealth announced it is purchasing land on Monument Mountain in Stockbridge to return it to the indigenous people who once called it their homeland.

The money comes from the state’s climate resiliency initiatives through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program. Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll was in Stockbridge Wednesday to announce the state is giving a $2.2 million grant to the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans so they can reclaim some of their homeland on Monument Mountain.

In addition to this historic commitment, Driscoll said the state is providing $31.5 million to 56 municipalities in order to address vulnerabilities in preparation for climate change. This money will fund 79 local projects.

The president of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans speaks to the significance of this grant.

“Our mission is to continue to foster and create relationships centered around integrated capital solutions and capacity building with our Tribal Nation, alongside partners, changemakers, community developers and partners like the state of Massachusetts,” said Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans President Shannon Holsey. “We are creating a paradigm shift in how society invests in tribal nations by grounding an investment strategy in Indigenous systems thinking, recognizing the interconnectedness of all things and our responsibilities to our homelands and each other. Our approach ensures a resilient and regenerative framework from start to finish, built around the origins of our homeland.” 

The group is acquiring 351 acres of the northern tip of Monument Mountain called Fenn Farm. Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll said the administration is dedicated to building an inclusive state for all, explaining why the reclamation of this land falls under climate change funding.

“As we work to address the climate crisis, we have an opportunity to right historical wrongs,” said Governor Maura Healey. “This investment to the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans demonstrates our administration’s commitment to building strong relationships with Indigenous communities and supporting their efforts in mitigating the impacts of climate change. We are proud to be a part of this significant first step of welcoming the Tribe back to their homeland.” 

“The Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans’ stewardship of lands is profoundly interwoven into their culture and reclaiming it will not only restore their relationship with the natural environment but also ensure ancestral-significant areas are preserved,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “The MVP program is one of our critical tools to partner with communities and build resiliency. We’re grateful to this year’s recipients for their hard work to mitigate the impacts of climate change.” 

“Equity and environmental justice are fundamental in our approach to tackling climate change. This project is just one example of how our administration is taking historic action in undoing the systems that excluded the Indigenous, Black, and brown communities and ensuring they are centered in our work,” said EEA Secretary Rebecca Tepper. “We look forward to continuing our partnerships with Tribes to develop proactive strategies protecting and restoring Massachusetts’ natural resources.” 

Local News

Alanna Flood is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2022. Follow Alanna on X @alannafloodnews and view her bio to see more of her work.