Posts Tagged ‘Mashpee Wampanoag’

28
Sep

Wampanoag linguist gets MacArthur genius grant

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Awesome news today from the Associated Press:

MASHPEE, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts linguist who spent 17 years trying to revive the language of her Wampanoag Indian community is among 23 recipients of this year’s “genius grants.”

Jessie Little Doe Baird of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe says she nearly fainted when she heard that she is receiving the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s $500,000 grant.

The Chicago-based foundation announced the grant Tuesday. The money, paid quarterly over five years, comes with no strings, allowing winners unfettered freedom to pursue their creativity.

The 46-year-old Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate has pushed to revive the Wampanoag language that was last spoken more than 150 years ago.

Her work helped restore to her Native American community a vital sense of its cultural heritage and to the nation a link to its complex past.

14
Jul

Native American groups call for reversal of Cape Wind decision

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In this Oct. 30, 2010 file photo, the sun rises over Nantucket Sound as seen from Popponesset Beach in Mashpee, Mass., on Cape Cod. Sunrise ceremonies are important to the Wampanoag tribes, who say a planned wind farm will disrupt those. (AP Photo/Julia Cumes, File)

In this Oct. 30, 2010 file photo, the sun rises over Nantucket Sound as seen from Popponesset Beach in Mashpee, Mass., on Cape Cod. Sunrise ceremonies are important to the Wampanoag tribes, who say a planned wind farm will disrupt those. (AP Photo/Julia Cumes, File)

The United South and Eastern Tribes and the National Congress of American Indians are seeking a reversal of the Obama administration’s approval of the Cape Wind project that would bring giant wind turbines to Nantucket Sound.

The site is sacred to the Aquinnah Wampanoag and Mashpee Wampanoag tribes, whose sunrise ceremonies would be disrupted by the planned 130 turbines.

As Indian Country Today’s Gale Courey Toensing writes here:

    Both tribes vigorously opposed the project. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar made a well-publicized visit to the area in February, inviting the press to accompany him on a Coast Guard ship to the wind factory site in the middle of Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound.

    Salazar’s task was to weigh the value the Obama administration places on respecting an irreplaceable and immovable American Indian sacred site against the worth and importance of a privately-owned for-profit renewable energy plant that could be built elsewhere.

    On April 28, Salazar gave his stamp of approval to the plant. The project is still in the permitting process with local and federal agencies.

USET, which represents 25 tribes from Maine to Florida, passed a resolution last month seeking a reversal, while NCAI’s resolution asks that the decision be reconsidered.

Gwen Florio

Evander Lee Daniels (Legacy.com photo)

Evander Lee Daniels (Legacy.com photo)

Child death in foster care causes First Nations outcry
Twice in six months, children from the Sturgeon Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan have died in foster care under suspicious circumstances. The most recent case, that of a 22-month-old child, has prompted calls for a public inquiry, according to this CBC report. The little boy, Evander Lee Daniels, drowned in a bathtub and also had been scalded, according to this earlier CBC piece. watch a video, here.

Some Wind River Reservation residents told to seek high ground during floods
Even though floodwaters are receding in central Wyoming, residents in the Wind River Indian Reservation community of Sharp Nose are being told to seek higher ground because of rain and snow last night. With snow falling at about an inch an hour, authorities feared more flooding along the Wind River, according to the Casper (Wyo.) Star Tribune, here.

New dorm goes up at Crazy Horse Memorial
The nearly-completed Crazy Horse Student Living and Learning Center was open to the public yesterday. The $2.5 million dorm will house the Summer University Program at Crazy Horse Memorial, sanctioned by the University of South Dakota’s Department of American Indian Studies, according to this Rapid City (S.D.) Journal story by Tyler Jerke.

Cape Wind opponents see parallels with gulf oil catastrophe
Indian Country Today’s Gale Courey Toensing wrote here last week about the massive wind-power project off the coast of Massachusetts, which is vehemently opposed by the Mashpee and Aquinnah Wampanoag nations. Opponents say the mitigation opposed for the Cape Wind project is akin to the safety measures that so badly failed on the BP rig now spewing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Fort Niagara adds Native American interpreters for truer history lesson
Every summer, Fort Niagara in New York hires history lovers and actors from Niagara University to portray characters who might have populated the region, and to explain its history to tourists. This year, those history interpreters include Jordan Smith, a Niagara Falls Native American educator, in the role of a Mohawk Indian, and Brenda Patterson, who is Tuscaroran and plays the role of a Seneca woman. The Mohawk and Seneca tribes are part of the Iroquois Confederacy. Read more here in the Niagara Gazette.

Gwen Florio

29
Apr

Wampanoag tribes vow to fight Cape Wind offshore power project

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In this Oct. 30, 2010 file photo, the sun rises over Nantucket Sound as seen from Popponesset Beach in Mashpee, Mass., on Cape Cod. Sunrise ceremonies are important to the Wampanoag tribes, who say a planned wind farm will disrupt those.  (AP Photo/Julia Cumes, File)

In this Oct. 30, 2010 file photo, the sun rises over Nantucket Sound as seen from Popponesset Beach in Mashpee, Mass., on Cape Cod. Sunrise ceremonies are important to the Wampanoag tribes, who say a planned wind farm will disrupt those. (AP Photo/Julia Cumes, File)

Even though Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has approved the Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound, foes of the giant offshore wind power project say they won’t give up.

Those foes include Wampanoag tribes, who objected to the project because it will interfere with sunrise ceremonies off Mashpee.

As Indian Country Today’s Gale Courey Toensing writes here:

    The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Cape Cod and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) on Martha’s Vineyard have vigorously opposed the project. The wind energy plant would obscure their view of the rising sun in ceremony, and the Sound, which was once dry land, is where their ancestors lived and were buried. Both nations have urged the secretary to require Cape Wind to relocate the project a few miles further offshore where they would be out of sight.

Those objections remain, even though Salazar says the size of the project has been reduced, to 130 turbines, and steps will be taken to mitigate their visibility.

Salazar’s decision is “a federal embarrassment,” Buddy Vanderhoop, a Wampanoag tribal member and commercial fisherman, tells the Boston Herald, here.

“It’s a slap in the face to all the tribes all over the U.S. who are backing us, and all of the people who make their living” on the waters that would be affected, he says.

And Audra Parker, executive director of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, says that “the fight is far from over. It will ultimately be decided in a court – and based on facts, not politics.”

The Wampanoag, along with the Alliance, are preparing a legal challenge.

Gwen Florio

17
Apr

Objections to King Philip’s War board game just PC whining?

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John Poniske sets up a war simulation board game at his home in Waynesboro, Pa., that he has created centering around a pre-Revolutionary War in Connecticut that pitted Native Americans against English Colonists. The game, which is still in the developmental stages, has raised concerns within the Native American population currently living in Connecticut. (AP/Timothy Jacobsen)

John Poniske sets up a war simulation board game at his home in Waynesboro, Pa., that he has created centering around a pre-Revolutionary War in Connecticut that pitted Native Americans against English Colonists. The game, which is still in the developmental stages, has raised concerns within the Native American population currently living in Connecticut. (AP/Timothy Jacobsen)

Maybe this is meant as a spoof. Maybe not.

Either way, it’s a commentary about a new board game, King Philip’s war, that we posted about, here, a couple of days ago.

The game is based on a conflict in the 1700s between colonists and tribes in what is now New England. As tended to happen in those cases, things went badly for both sides, but much worse for the tribes in question.

One of the ways to score points in the game is by staging a massacre. The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe has objected to the concept of the game.

The post from Mike Spence that refers to the game says in part:

    Of course the best way to educate people is by letting them pretend they are Native American tribes whose sole goal is to ambush or massacre colonists. Jeez, is there anything the PC police won’t come down on you for nowadays?

Read it and see what you think.

Gwen Florio

15
Apr

In this board game, players score points by wiping out Natives

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John Poniske sets up a war simulation board game at his home in Waynesboro, Pa., that he has created centering around a pre-Revolutionary War in Connecticut that pitted Native Americans against English Colonists. The game, which is still in the developmental stages, has raised concerns within the Native American population currently living in Connecticut. (AP/Timothy Jacobsen)

John Poniske sets up a war simulation board game at his home in Waynesboro, Pa., that he has created centering around a pre-Revolutionary War in Connecticut that pitted Native Americans against English Colonists. The game, which is still in the developmental stages, has raised concerns within the Native American population currently living in Connecticut. (AP/Timothy Jacobsen)

A new historic board game based on colonial times in New England is rankling tribes who feel it perpetuates stereotypes of Native Americans as savages.

“From what I’ve seen right now: totally inappropriate, highly offensive, nowhere near ready to be in production,” said Annawon Weeden, a member of the Mashpee Wampanoags in Massachusetts, tells Eric Tucker of the Associated Press, here.

“It’s just a way to have fun reliving a tragedy.”

The game, “King Philip’s War,” refers to the deadly struggle between colonists and tribes in the 17th century.

Tucker reports that it’s been developed by a company partly owned by former major league pitcher Curt Schilling. Tucker writes:

John Poniske holds a board game piece at his home in Waynesboro, Pa., that goes with his soon-to-be released, and controversial game about a pre-Revolutionary War that took place in Connecticut between Native Americans and English settlers. The board game pieces, playing board and game rules are still in the prototype stage. (AP/Timothy Jacobsen)

John Poniske holds a board game piece at his home in Waynesboro, Pa., that goes with his soon-to-be released, and controversial game about a pre-Revolutionary War that took place in Connecticut between Native Americans and English settlers. The board game pieces, playing board and game rules are still in the prototype stage. (AP/Timothy Jacobsen)

    But Schilling, who won World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox, said historical events should not be whitewashed for fear of offending someone. King Philip’s War helped forge early American identity, even if it “clearly exposed the horrible side of humans in some cases,” he said.

    “If everyone intent on keeping historical events stopped at content that might seem offensive, we’d lose sight of the horrific mistakes this nation, the world and the human race are capable of, and that would be a horrific thing,” Schilling said in an e-mail sent through his publicist.

    The game was designed by John Poniske, a middle school social studies and English teacher at Antietam Academy in Hagerstown, Md., who said he came up with the idea after reading a military magazine article about the war.

The game involves scenarios such as ambushes, massacres or spying.

A Facebook group, Stop the Release of King Philip’s War, has more than 340 members and urges MultiManPublishing to halt production.

The war took place from 1675-76 and was named for Philip — also called Metacom. He was leader, or sachem, of the Wampanoag people. During the war from 1675-76, settlers were attacked, villages were burned and thousands of Native Americans died. King Philip was beheaded in 1676.

Gwen Florio

6
Oct

Concern over Indian sites stalls offshore Mass. wind project

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 An artist’s conception of the Cape Wind project. (AP photo)

An artist’s conception of the Cape Wind project. (AP photo)


Federal consent for Cape Wind, a 130-turbine wind project off the shores of Massachusetts, has stalled because two tribes object to its potential effect on historic and ceremonial sites.

The Wampanoag tribes, whose name translates to “People of First Light,” say the hundreds of square miles in Nantucket Sound must provide an unobstructed view of the rising sun in order for the tribes to continue ceremonies that are centuries old, according to this New York Times story. The story goes on to report that the tribes want the federal government to designate the sound as a “traditional cultural property” and prohibit the project from being built there. Both the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) are involved.

The turbines would be sunk on a shallow ocean bottom that long ago, before being covered by seawater, was a tribal burial site, the tribes say.

“It is a place where our ancestors are buried,” George “Chuckie” Green, a historical officer for the tribe, tells the Times’ Evan Lehmann. “It is a place that is principal to our practices. An unobstructed view of the eastern sun is paramount to our religion.”

Supporters of the wind farm say that if the tribes’ objections stand, it could set a legal precedent that could affect other planned wind farms along the coast.

Gwen Florio

11
Jul

Weekend brunch in Indian Country

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The brunch is going to have to stretch over the entire weekend because I’m headed for the National Folk Festival in Butte, America, as soon as I’m done typing. Given how I overindulged last weekend at the Arlee Celebration, I’m going to make a mighty attempt to stay away from the food vendors. But here are some tasty virtual dishes:

Indian Hoops Tourney Ends Saturday
The Native American Basketball Invitational winds up today. You can check out the results here. And enjoy the BROS (Basketball on the Rez) video, with interviews with players from Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico.

Native American Celebration in New Jersey
This Philadelphia Inquirer story is one after my own heart, in part because it comes from my former newspaper and is also about the state where both of my children were born. Oh, and it’s a good story, too – about the Sussex County Native American Celebration in northwestern New Jersey. What’s cool about this gathering is that it seeks to bring together Native people from North America, as well as indigenous people from Central and South America. With such large numbers of immigrants coming from Latin America, that makes sense. Also, with the East Coast being so highly urbanized, and people so dispersed, the festival sees itself as a good way for Native people to reinforce their traditions. As 19-year-old Matthew Boardley, a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, says, “In the city especially it’s hard to keep the younger children coming up into their traditions of dance and song because the pace of the city is so fast-paced and everything is like modern, modern, modern. I noticed back home (on Cape Cod), or on a lot of the reserves throughout the country, it’s not as hard to keep the traditions going.”

Mass Honors Proposed Native American Saint
This story from the wonderfully named Daily Comet in Lafourche Parish, La., surprised me because I foolishly assumed that Kateri Tekakwitha had become a saint long ago. But apparently the Mohawk woman, who was converted to Catholicism and died in 1680 at the age of 24, is one miracle short of sainthood. I remember learning about her in Catholic school, and even have a medal of her tucked away somewhere. The Mass in her honor was a special Native American Liturgical Celebration, and featured the Bayou Eagles dance group and the Miracle Drum Group.

Trial Postponed in Shooting of BIA Officer
The trial for a man accused of shooting a Bureau of Indian Affairs police officer in South Dakota has been postponed until July 21, according to this Rapid City Journal story. The officer, Sgt. Louis Poitra of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, was responding to a report of a domestic disturbance and was shot in the leg before his accused assailant, Kelly Ward, shot himself. Both men survived.

Tribal IDs Gaining Acceptance
This is a really useful story from the Char-Koosta news that I meant to post last week. It outlines where people can and cannot use their tribal IDs. Seems like the kind of thing people might want to print out to show anyone who questions the use of a tribal ID.

That’s probably it for this weekend. Have a great one!

Gwen Florio