Week 2


On Monday, July 15, our second encounter with grounded history will take us across the water for an overnight trip to Aquinnah, also known as Gay Head, on Martha’s Vineyard. Our first stop will be the Aquinnah Cultural Center (ACC) for a discussion of the assigned readings, a presentation by co-director Linda Coombs, and a tour of the ACC. After lunch, Coombs, a tribal member, will lead us on a tour of Wampanoag cultural landscapes and a visit to the tribal offices. As in Mashpee, we will travel on an air-conditioned bus and meet with tribal officials, elders, and other community members, as available. The day concludes with a dinner of local foods at the Aquinnah Town Hall and a discussion of present-day Aquinnah Wampanoag issues. The group will stay overnight at a hostel in West Tisbury. 

On Tuesday, July 16, we will meet in the Aquinnah Town Hall for a presentation on gender identity. In the 20th century, women’s rights and LGBT rights percolated through Indian Country in ways that differ from mainstream experiences. Native American activists embrace the term “Two Spirit” as a way to discuss non-binary gender roles while acknowledging the diversity of custom, belief and practice in Indigenous communities. Guest presenter Harlan Pruden (Saddle Lake Cree Nation) will discuss contemporary Two Spirit identity and some of the issues facing youth in our schools. Pruden, a co-founder of the Northeast Two Spirit Society, is the Managing Editor of the Two Spirit Journal and a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. We will visit additional places en route to the ferry landing and the Scholars will have time for lunch on their own before the return trip to Hyannis. 

On Wednesday, July 17, we will focus on land in terms of treaties, laws, and environmental concerns. In the morning, Mashpee Wampanoag historian and filmmaker Paula Peters will show her documentary, The Mashpee 9, about the 1976 arrest of nine men from Mashpee for drumming on tribal land. Peters will discuss the case as well as her work on the interactive exhibit, Our Story: 400 Years of Wampanoag History, which provides a Wampanoag context for the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620. In the afternoon, Peter d’Errico, Professor Emeritus of Legal Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, will provide an overview of Federal Indian law and give examples from his 50 years of practice, which includes work with the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe. The readings include d’Errico’s essay, “Native Americans in America: A Theoretical and Historical Overview.”  

On Thursday, July 18, we revisit the concept of historical trauma by comparing local and national examples of how to promote healing and wellness. In the morning, jessie little doe baird returns to discuss the positive impact of language reclamation. In the afternoon, Barbara Landis from the Cumberland County (PA) Historical Society will discuss the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, where Native American children, including some Wampanoag children, were sent from 1879 to 1918 to be educated under an assimilationist policy known as “kill the Indian, save the man.” Landis has worked for many years with Carlisle survivors and their descendants and her present work includes helping tribal communities across the nation to identify and repatriate the bodies of children who were buried in the school cemetery. 

On Friday, July 19, the Scholars will check out of the Hyannis Hostel and move to Bridgewater State University, our base for the final week of the Institute. After checking in, the Scholars will receive an orientation to the campus and the library and meet with Joyce Rain Anderson, Professor of English at Bridgewater, to learn about mapping Indigenous places in your community.