A Creative Donation Brings Abenaki History to Local Schools

March 2, 2022

Book cover for "A Deep Presence," depicting a Paleoindian encampment, stone tools, and a portrait of a modern-day Abenaki womanWhen Harriet and Stephen DiCicco first heard about Robert Goodby’s book on the history of Native Americans in the Monadnock Region — which was published with financial support from the Harris Center and the Historical Society of Cheshire County — they were moved to do something beyond simply reading the book themselves. They knew A Deep Presence: 13,000 Years of Native American History was an important work, and they wanted to make sure students had access to it. Within a short period of time, they did just that!

The DiCiccos got together with Harris Center staff and offered to solicit funds for book donations from friends who might appreciate the significance of Dr. Goodby’s work. Who could refuse an offer like that? Harris Center teacher-naturalists were excited about the idea of giving donated books to local schools, and to teachers who could use this new resource to enhance their understanding of Abenaki people and their relationship to the land.

The DiCiccos sent an email to their friends, explaining their interest in sharing Dr. Goodby’s book with local schools and teachers:

“We feel that the history of these earliest caretakers and inhabitants of our land has been neglected, if not lost. Getting the book into the hands of teachers of our local schools is one way to begin informing our young, and through them, the rest of us!”

An image of a bookplate that says, "This book was donated by Harriet & Stephen DiCicco on behalf of the Harris Center for Conservation Education"In short order, donations were sent in from a dozen of their friends, allowing the Harris Center to purchase 41 books for distribution!

Harris Center teacher-naturalists have been busy making deliveries to teachers and schools, including many 4th grade teachers who teach a curriculum on Native American history. Each donated book has a bookplate, so readers will know who donated the book (and might be inspired to perform their own act of generosity…)

The Harris Center is so grateful to our generous community of donors, and especially to Harriet and Stephen, who found a creative way to share important history with local children — and all those whose lives they’ll touch.