Just a hump of land rising off Rt. 122 in            Grafton, Mass., like the back of some harpooned       whale lashed to a hunting ship   for all eternity, the sign, "Indian Burying Ground,"     the unmarked stones, tell                 us that here once the Hassanamiscos          lived, a "friendly band of Nipmucs,"   in a wilderness they called          Wabbequasset, near the pond Naggawoomcom, weaving willow              baskets by the Blackstone,    in their village Hassanamesit,             this, before the epidemics, this,                     before Rev. John Eliot, Bible- and blunderbuss-armed, arrived anno domini 1654,          and preached them to their knees, invoking    divine ordinance to cut their hair, to cover            their breasts, to remain chaste, and, Praise the                         Lord, to stop cracking head lice with  their teeth, under pain of five shilling                     fines, "civilizing" them                                         into selling their land, all seven thousands acres, minus                the hump, with proceeds proceeding to      state guardians too busy                      with God's work to remember         Praying Indians whose prayers went    unanswered, and whose petitions appeared                  mere unmarked stones to those busy            building their shining "City Upon A Hill," and there's this hump in Grafton, this bump by the      the  side of the road, and a sign somewhere             in town that boasts, "These 4 1/2 acres have never been owned by the white man." Grafton, Mass. July 30, 2004

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