Fishkill Celebrates Daniel Nimham Statue Dedication

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Town of Fishkill

JUNE 11, 2022

More than 300 residents and guests attended Saturday's statue dedication in honor of Sachem Daniel Nimham.

Fishkill Celebrates Daniel Nimham Statue Dedication

More than 300 Fishkill residents, dignitaries, representatives of the Native American community and historical re-enactors gathered Saturday for a celebration as the Town dedicated a statue to its greatest native son, Sachem Daniel Nimham.

The ceremony was held at The Arrowhead intersection of Routes 52 and 82, where the statue was installed last month. Town Supervisor Ozzy Albra and the Town Board hosted the event, which featured comments from local leaders, special presentations from the Native American community, and remarks from statue sculptor and world-renowned artist Michael Keropian.

Supervisor Albra and the Town Board lead an audience of more than 300 in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Taking His Place in History

Dutchess County Historian Will Truitt spoke to the audience Saturday about the significant contributions of the Native American community to the story of the United States, and praised the statue for honoring the Hudson Valley's most prominent and historically significant Native American leader.

Town of East Fishkill Supervisor Nick D'Alessandro and Wappinger Supervisor Dr. Richard Thurston spoke of the significance of the statue across southern Dutchess County, and County Legislator Doug McHoul spoke of Nimham's connection and strong relationship with the Brinckerhoff family, whose family inn still stands just yards from the site of the statue in Nimham's honor.

Wappingers Central School District Superintendent Dr. Dwight Bonk told the crowd that the district will be introducing Daniel Nimham and local history into the curriculum for students across the district, paving the way for generations of students to learn and appreciate the legacy Nimham and the Wappinger people.


Supervisor Albra also invited Fishkill resident William Veitinge to the stage to read a letter he had written to the Supervisor, recounting how as a child he played ball in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, on the very site where Nimham and other Native Americans were killed in battle during the American Revolution, and how the statue gave him pride to live in Fishkill. Supervisor Albra said while he has received countless emails and phone calls in support of the statue, Mr. Veitinge's letter stood out as it was the only hand-written letter he received regarding the statue. Mr. Veitinge read his letter to much applause at Saturday's ceremony.

"A lot of people said they love this statue, but this gentleman wrote me a letter by hand," Supervisor Albra said.

The Red Storm Drum and Dance Troupe performed traditional Native American music at Saturday's celebration.

Special Native American presentations took place throughout the ceremony, including traditional native drum and music from the Red Storm Drum and Dance Troupe, an Algonquin prayer of blessing by local Native American and Wappinger descendant Alicia Stardancer, and remarks and a special song on flute by the Mohican Veterans. Native American Penny Osborn recited a poem about Daniel Nimham written by her late husband, Gil Tarbox, with whom she hosted the annual Daniel Nimham pow-wow in Putnam County for many years.

Sculptor Michael Keropian spoke about his inspiration for the statue and the many symbols it contains, including the land survey in Nimham's right hand, representing his commitment to advocate for his peoples' land rights, the musket in his left hand recognizing his courage and valor in battle, and the tree stump symbolizing his life cut short when he was killed at the Battle of Kingsbridge on August 31, 1778.

Dutchess County Sheriff Kirk A. Imperati speaks to the crowd Saturday.

Dutchess County Sheriff Kirk A. Imperati spoke about the significance of Saturday's event as an opportunity to unite behind our shared history as Americans.

"On the surface we all look different, but at our core we are the same," Sheriff Imperati said. "Everyone here today, is Daniel Nimham's legacy."

Sheriff Imperati noted the progress our nation has made in the 250 years since Nimham and others fought and died in the American Revolution.

"Daniel Nimham strived during his life to ensure the equal dignity of his people among the colonists who populated our area," he said. "More than two centuries later, my solemn oath as Dutchess County Sheriff is to protect the dignity, equality, and the natural rights of everyone I encounter."

Revolutionary War reenactors prepare to fire a salvo in salute of Sachem Daniel Nimham.

Saturday's ceremony came to a fitting end as Revolutionary War reenactors from the 5th and 2nd New York regiments fired their muskets in salute to Chief Nimham.

Town Supervisor Ozzy Albra concluded the ceremony by encouraging other leaders to follow the Town's example of tackling big projects that have support in the community.

"Don't be afraid to do something grand, as long as it benefits your community," Supervisor Albra said. "Don't be afraid of something monumental."

For a full gallery of Saturday's event, click here to see more photos on the Town Facebook page!!!

Thank you to all

Supervisor Albra and the Town Board wish to thank all those who attended Saturday's celebration, with special thanks to Town Clerk Becki Tompkins, Town Highway Superintendent Glenn R. Scofield Sr., Village of Fishkill Mayor Kathy Martin, Town of East Fishkill Supervisor Nicholas D'Alessandro, Town of Wappinger Supervisor Dr. Richard L. Thurston, Dutchess County Legislature Chairman Gregg Pulver, County Legislators Douglas A.A. McHoul, Yvette Valdes Smith, Joey Cavaccini and Will Truitt, Wappingers Central School District Superintendent Dr. Dwight Bonk and Fine and Performing Arts Director Bonnie King, John Jay High School principal David Kedzielawa, history teacher Zachary Utter and students Trevor Millies and Harshitha Talasila, the Red Storm Drum and Dance Troupe, the Mohican Veterans, Alicia Stardancer, Penny Osborn, the Brinckerhoff Inn and owner Bob Chiuli, and sculptor Michael Keropian.

Supervisor Albra and the Board also thank the Dutchess County Sheriffs Office, Town of Fishkill Police Cadets and the American Legion Post 1758 color guards for an outstanding combined presentation of the colors for Saturday's event. 

Special thanks also go to the Town of Fishkill Police Department for excellent traffic control during the event, the New York State Department of Transportation for use of the Arrowhead for the statue site, and the Town of Fishkill Buildings and Grounds Department and Highway Department for their excellent care for the statue site and preparations for Saturday's Ceremony.