Week 3


The third week of the Institute offers the Scholars an opportunity to extend what they learned from a two-week, holistic study of Wampanoag communities to other tribal communities in New England. This is also a time for them to process information by developing curricular materials to bring back to their schools and classrooms and to post on our project website. The living-and-learning dormitory and library resources at Bridgewater State University will support a different style of learning than was possible in the Hyannis hostel. The Scholars will organize in small groups to share information about curriculum requirements in their states and brainstorm ways to connect material from the Institute to their teaching responsibilities. Natalie Martinez will work closely with the Scholars in developing their curricular projects.

Monday, July 22 begins with a trip to Uncasville, CT where we will visit the Mohegan Government and Community Center and the Tantaquidgeon Indian Museum. Mohegan Medicine Woman Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel will speak to us about historical trauma in Mohegan communities and lead a discussion of an assigned reading by Abenaki scholar Margaret Bruchac on the complex relationship between anthropologist Frank Speck and one of his main “informants,” Gladys Tantaquidgeon (Mohegan), who was both a Medicine Woman and an accomplished scholar in her own right. In the afternoon, we will visit the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center (MPMRC) in Ledyard, CT. Since opening in 1998, the MPMRC has been a major educational center in New England, focusing on the history of the Mashantucket Pequots in particular and New England Indians more generally. 

On Wednesday, July 24, we will visit the Tomaquag Museum in Exeter, RI. Executive Director Lorén Spears (Narragansett) will give a presentation on Narragansett history and culture. The Narragansett were “detribalized” by the State in 1881 and re-acknowledged by the Federal government in 1983, adding a new angle on the Federal Recognition process. In the afternoon, we will meet with Chief Cheryll Toney Holley (Nipmuc) at the Hassanamisco Indian Museum in Grafton, MA. The Nipmuc Nation is recognized by the State but not by the Federal government, following a controversial decision in 2004 that overturned a preliminary finding in their favor.  

Tuesday, July 23, and Thursday, July 25, will each begin with a two-hour discussion of assigned readings and a de-brief of the prior day’s field trip. The remaining time will be devoted to curricular projects. The Scholars will make presentations to each other, according to interest or grade level. They will meet individually or in small groups with co-directors Nash and Coombs and with Curriculum Specialist Martinez. We conclude on Friday, July 26, with a Talking Circle, where we collectively discuss what we learned during these three weeks. Thirty minutes will be set aside at the end for final evaluations.