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Tangled Lives: Native People and English Settlers in Colonial New England

February 8th, 2023 · No Comments · Author Talk, Books, City Library, Events, Main Branch

“Tangled Lives” blends and juxtaposes material from Abenaki and English tradition, tracing some of the intertwined threads in the relationships between English settlers and Native peoples as they struggled to control the Abenaki land of northern New England – land to which each group felt entitled, land on which different cultures clashed, mingled, and merged.  Exploring questions of responsibility and justice, the stories reveal the way English and Native people in this region saw one another as defenders and trespassers, pursuers and refugees, relatives and aliens, kind neighbors and ruthless destroyers.

Radner presents stories from extensive research and from the written memoirs of two families who arrived in Massachusetts in 1635 and migrated over time to settle the new English towns of Ipswich and Haverhill, Massachusetts, Penacook (Concord), New Hampshire, and finally Pequawket (Fryeburg), Maine. Because the stories relate to her own ancestors, Radner’s quest to understand colonial lives invites all listeners to consider how they and their relatives and neighbors are part of the history of northern New England.

Jo Radner received her Ph.D. from Harvard University. Before returning to her family home in western Maine as a freelance storyteller, writer, and oral historian, she spent 31 years as professor at American University in Washington, DC, teaching literature, folklore, women’s studies, American studies, Celtic studies, and storytelling. She has published books and articles in all those fields. Her new book, Wit and Wisdom: The Forgotten Literary Life of New England Villages, will be published by the University of Massachusetts Press in 2023. She is past president of the American Folklore Society and the National Storytelling Network.

This program is brought to you by the New Hampshire Humanities Council. Join us on Wednesday March 8, 2023 : 06:30 PM – 07:30 PM in the library auditorium.

For questions, call Caitlin at 603-624-6550 x7620 or email [email protected]

Signup for this program is not required, but if you’d like a reminder email, you can sign up through our library calendar! Visit and click on “Upcoming Events” to view the library calendar. Click here to be taken directly to the event, or copy and paste the link below into your browser.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to COVID, we encourage all in-person attendees wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status, and maintain a distance of 6 feet from other attendees. In-person attendance is limited to 50, so please sign up for these programs to ensure your seat!

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