FISHKILL – Town officials will be dedicating a statue in memory of Sachem Daniel Ninham on Saturday. The monument is titled “Arrowhead”. Ninham was the Sachem, or leader, of the Wappinger.
The monument to Ninham is located at the intersection of Routes 52 and 82 in Fishkill. The dedication, originally planned for Veterans Day of 2021 is taking place at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 11. The monument to Ninham was sculpted by Michael Keropian of Carmel. A detailed description of the process he used to create the sculpture can be found here.
Robert Grumet, an anthropologist, and retired National Park Service archeologist, is a Senior Research Associate with the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Grumet describes Daniel Nimham as the “leader of the Wappinger, a small peripatetic group of from two hundred to three hundred displaced Mahican- and Munsee-speaking Indian people” who wandered the “mountainous contested borderlands separating Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
A dedication plaque on the monument has drawn some criticism from town residents. Town Supervisor Ozzy Albra arranged for the plaque to list the names of the town board members. The name of former Councilman Ori Brachfeld, who was on the board when the statue’s purchase was authorized in 2019, was omitted and his temporary successor, Joe Buono is on the plaque. Brachfeld served on the town board from 2014 until his resignation on July 30, 2021. Brachfeld resigned to move out of state. Albra nominated Joe Buono to serve the remainder of Brachfeld’s term. He was appointed on August 11, 2021, and served a total of five months on the board.
Asked why Brachfeld’s name is not on the plaque, Albra said the plaque “reflects individuals who were serving Fishkill at the time of the planned ceremony in November of 2021. Albra pointed out that Brachfeld’s name appears on plaques at the police department and salt shed because he was on the board for both of those projects.
Brachfeld said the omission is “odd”, noting that he was in favor of the recognition of Ninham but was opposed to substantial expenditure of taxpayer money for the statue. The sculptor was paid $50,000 for the creation. The funds were included in the 2021 adopted town budget, which Brachfeld voted on. “I am not looking for recognition,” Brachfeld told Mid-Hudson News “but I do find it a bit odd since I was one of the board members that voted on the project, along with Supervisor Albra, and board members Bardini, Daniele, and Gadsen.”