Week 1 2013

The first week addressed the period from before European contact to the beginning of the eighteenth century.

Discussion topics for the week included:

  • Indigenous peoples of New England during the pre- and early contact period
  • The critical era between the “Great Migration” of English settlers (1630-42) through King Philip’s War (1675-76) and its aftermath
  • The Anglo-French rivalry that erupted into war in 1689, with a focus on the 1704 raid on Deerfield, Massachusetts.

The first day began with self-introductions by core faculty and NEH Summer Scholars.

Co-directors Neal Salisbury and Alice Nash then gave an overview of the content and format of the Institute, and teacher-facilitator Peter Gunn explained the curricular projects that each Scholar completed by the end of the three weeks.

To highlight the interconnection between “history” and the contemporary concerns of Native American communities in New England, we watched We Still Live Here: Âs Nutayuneân, an award-winning film about the Wampanoag (Wôpanâak) of southeastern Massachusetts who draw on seventeenth-century sources to learn their language today. This program, called the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project, was founded and directed by MacArthur Foundation Fellow Jessie Little Doe Baird, who joined us on July 25.

Neal Salisbury discussed pre-contact Indians and their earliest interactions with Europeans with particular attention to New England through the 1620s.

Lisa Brooks led a discussion centered on Mary Rowlandson’s captivity narrative. She drew on Rowlandson’s narrative to examine the social and geographic networks of Native people Rowlandson encountered, particularly Weetamoo, a female sachem, and James Printer, a Christian Nipmuc whose story is intertwined with Rowlandson’s narrative.

Kevin Sweeney discussed the multiple contexts of the 1704 raid on Deerfield, Massachusetts, including the backgrounds and motives of French, English, Mohawk, Abenaki and Huron-Wendat participants in the raid and the diverse fates of most of the 112 English captives. 

One full day was devoted to visiting Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum that re-creates a Wampanoag homesite and the nearby English village of Plimoth circa 1627.

After visiting the Pilgrim village, where we observed and interacted with historically trained re-enactors, and the Wampanoag homesite, which uses interpreters rather than re-enactors, we met with museum staff to discuss the challenges of interpreting bi-cultural history for school groups and the general public.