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The Quinnipiac: First People of the Shoreline at Pardee-Morris House


New Haven, Conn. (April 25, 2024) – Historian and archaeologist Jim Powers will share the story of more than 14,000 years of Quinnipiac and Indigenous life in Connecticut during,  “The Quinnipiac: The First People of the Shoreline,” at the Pardee-Morris House on Sunday, June 23, 2024, at 2 p.m. Register for this free NH250 event here. For weather updates check FB/IG or call 203-562-4183.


Powers, who was instrumental in establishing the Quinnipiac Dawnland Museum at Dudley Farm, in Guilford, will illustrate the story of the Quinnipiac People and their ancestors from the end of the Ice Age through the arrival of the Dutch and then English Colonists in the early 17th century. He will highlight the catastrophic impact of the European arrival on the Quinnipiac and present the reasons for their eventual dispersal to join other groups in Connecticut and beyond. He will have copies of his recently published historical novel on the same topic, “Shadows Over Dawnland,” available for purchase.


Powers is a life-long historian, archaeologist, and teacher. When an extensive collection of Quinnipiac artifacts was donated to the Dudley Farm Museum, where he was volunteering, he  began the curation of the artifacts that led to the building of the Quinnipiac Dawnland Museum at Dudley Farm.


Powers’ aim is for the public to gain a greater understanding of the story of Indigenous life in the region. The story remains relevant today, he maintains, because the public knows little of who the Quinnipiac were, their way of life, and the importance of their presence in the history of the region. He explains that prior to the arrival of English colonists to what is now New Haven, a series of disasters befell the Indigenous people of Connecticut. 


In 1633, a smallpox epidemic broke out among the Native people who lived in what is currently the Hartford area. Both the Dutch and the English had recently set up trading posts there and each blamed the other for the outbreak. By the end of 1634, 50 to 80 percent of Native people in Connecticut had died. In 1636, the Pequot War broke out between Massachusetts Bay Colony and the Pequot in southeastern Connecticut. When it was over, the Pequot were destroyed, and the English colonists dominated all surviving Native people in the state. English colonists arrived in 1638 to settle in the New Haven area, and by the late 1600's surviving Quinnipiac could no longer maintain their traditional way of life. By the late 1680's, their dispersal away from the area along the shoreline began and few Quinnipiac remained in the area by the late 18th century.


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