As we invite you to think about the farm as a place of learning, we would like to acknowledge that Saratoga Springs, including the rich lands of the Community Farm, is part of a wide area whose lands and waters were cared for by the Algonkian people, known as the Mohican for over ten thousand years.
About fifteen hundred years ago, a group of Iroquoian-speaking people, the Kanien-keha-ka (Mohawk) migrated to the area. Both nations regarded the area surrounding Saratoga Springs as sacred. Because of the the mineral springs with healing waters, it was considered and area of peace to be shared by all.
The Mohican, who became known as the Stockbridge Munsee, were forced to remove first to Massachusetts, then to the area of Oneida, New York and eventually to Wisconsin, where the Stockbridge Munsee Reservations still exists. Their name of Mohican relates to Muh-he-kun-i-tuk (the Hudson River), meaning "The River that Flows Two Ways". (The Hudson River is an estuary whose direction of flow changes with the tides as far north as Albany.)
The Kanien-keha-ka (Mohawk) are the easternmost of the Five original Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) nations. Haudenosaunee means "People of the Longhouse" and Kanien-keha-ka means "People of Flint". Although most of the Kanien-keha-ka were forced to relocate north to the Akwesasne Reservation straddling the Canadian border and further into Canada to several different reserves, there is a contemporary Mohawk community near Fonda, NY call Kanatsiohareke, which is led by Sakokwenionkwas (Tom Porter), meaning "The One Who Wins".
Many Native people living in the Saratoga Springs never left, but simply laid low. Several other groups of Algonkian people moved here in the 1600s as a result of European settlements elsewhere. When 18th century tourism around the springs provided opportunities for Native artisans to sell their goods, they began again to have a visible presence in such places as Congress Park, where Mohawk and Abenaki craftspeople regularly set up camps to sell their goods.