Reclaiming Indigenous Landscapes


Author/Creator ORCID





MA in Cultural Sustainability

Citation of Original Publication


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The goal of this capstone is to present the results of research on the history of the naming of geological places in Connecticut. Many sites carry names that refer to "satan," "devil," or “hell,” names which were not used by the indigenous people and do not conform to their cosmology. The research largely reveals that the Puritan settlers had a great influence on the use of English names that conformed to Christian cosmology rather than native cosmology. The paper provides a broader context for the thirty-three satanic place names within Connecticut that is inclusive of indigenous voices and perspectives that is generally absent from the writings of early settlers. Themes emerge that involve native cosmological culture heroes, perceived taboos, and ceremonial sites. Evidence of Puritan connections in the re-naming is presented, as well as possible reasons for the cultural disconnect of Connecticut tribes from these sites. In addition, this study documents the methods that were utilized in the research, as well as ethical considerations and challenges that were met in carrying out the study. This document will potentially become a guidebook utilized by indigenous communities to uncover and reconnect with their own traditional landscapes.