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The Ancient Fishweir Project combines public art, educational programs, and community events in celebration with the contemporary Native American community. 


3,700 to 5,300 years ago, near what is now Boston Common, fishweirs were built along the tidal flats to catch fish during the spring spawn.


The Fishweir Project's annual building of a fishweir on Boston Common brings this ancient activity into the current imagination, expanding the time frame of history told in Boston, and honoring the people who lived in the place we now call Boston.

Ancient Fishweir Project

Audio recording

Gill Solomon, Sachem, Massachuset Tribe

talks about fishweir and cultural history

Gill Solomon - 2008
00:00 / 00:00

TEDxBeaconStreet - Ross Miller

In the place we now call Boston - Story of the fishweir project

2024 ~ Our Annual Fishweir Installation ~ update

This year, we will celebrate the 21st annual Fishweir installation on Boston Common.  The Fishweir was built this spring by 50 students from Grade 5 inclusion Qunicy School, Boston with lead teacher Kelly Keefe and Jeannie Foster of the Massachusett Tribe. The Fishweir will be on Boston Common until Making History Day events on June 3, 2024.

Brush wood (invasive buckthorn) was collected in Franklin Park by Tom Green, Massachusett Tribe; Cyrus Marion and Carolyn Minkowski, graduate students from the UMass Historical Archeology program; and with the assistance of City Arborist, Max Ford-Diamond.

Many educators are interested in continuing to share ideas about placed-based ways of thinking that are natural to many indigenous cultural traditions. Here are links to thoughtful local tribal groups.

Link to Massachuset tribe

link to Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe

link to Herring spawning in rivers in Massachusett

We well continue to raise awareness of the early history of the people who made their homes in this area for over 200 generations before the arrival of European colonists by sharing the Fishweir building and program activities on Boston Common, including curriculum projects, and public educational outreach.

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