Plymouth 400's Wampanoag History Exhibit debuts “Governance” Chapter at Massachusetts State House for Native American Heritage Month

Filed Under: Other News

Boston (November 5, 2018) — “Our”Story: 400 Years of Wampanoag History, an educational and cultural exhibit about the history and traditions of the Wampanoag tribe, will be open to the public at the Massachusetts State House through November 30. This traveling, multi-media exhibit is part of the Signature Events and Programs of Plymouth 400, Inc., the organization planning the international 400th anniversary commemoration of the 1620 Mayflower voyage and the founding of Plymouth Colony.
The exhibit will be on display on the 4th floor of the State House in observance of Native American Heritage Month. This will also mark the debut of the latest “chapter” in what will become a 7-chapter exhibit by 2020, with additional pieces of Wampanoag history added each time as the exhibit continues to travel throughout the region.  “Governance” is the 5th chapter and the State House will provide a perfect setting for the new subject matter.  In fact, the unique style of governance practiced by the Wampanoag and other Algonquin nations was so appealing to the founding fathers of the United States that many elements are reflected in the constitution.
“Our”Story is an interactive traveling exhibit, told in the Native voice, which shines a light on historic events that had a significant impact on the Wampanoag tribe, their relationship with the Mayflower Pilgrims, and the founding of Plymouth Colony, cornerstone events that shaped America’s earliest beginnings. A Wampanoag Advisory Committee, with representation from both the Aquinnah Wampanoag and Mashpee Wampanoag tribes, created the concept and designed the exhibit. It was designed to bring to light key legacies of America’s earliest beginnings from the Wampanoag perspective, a voice largely absent from the colonial narrative. The exhibit has received widespread media attention since its debut for its honest and powerful approach to highlighting occurrences in indigenous history that are not commonly known, yet vital to the founding of Plymouth Colony and the building of America.
Plymouth 400 commissioned a Native design team to create “Our”Story to ensure that the exhibit was thoroughly representative of the history of New England’s indigenous peoples. The Indian Spiritual and Cultural Training Council Inc. and SmokeSygnals Marketing and Communications conceptualized, researched, and produced “Our”Story, and members of the Mashpee and Aquinnah Wampanoag tribes portrayed historical figures for the exhibit. The creation of this exhibit aligns with Plymouth 400’s mission to create a commemoration that is historically accurate and culturally inclusive, as indigenous peoples have declined participation or faced misrepresentation and even omission from previous anniversary events. “Perceptions from Plymouth’s earliest period became etched into the American story when President Lincoln used the iconic symbol of the Wampanoag people and English colonists feasting together in 1621 as a representation of cooperation as he proclaimed our national holiday, Thanksgiving,” said Michele Pecoraro, Executive Director of Plymouth 400. “Plymouth 400 is committed to creating a commemoration that is historically accurate, which means addressing the realities of the story that don’t reflect the simplified and often inaccurate depictions of the First Thanksgiving. This exhibit is intended to create conversations around these crucial realities in our history in an informative and authentic way, honoring the contributions of both cultures and recognizing the complexities of their relationship.”
About Plymouth 400, Inc.
Plymouth 400, Inc. is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 2009 in Plymouth, Massachusetts formed to lead the planning and execution of programs and events commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage and the founding of Plymouth Colony in 1620. The Plymouth 400 Commemoration will highlight the cultural contributions and American traditions that began with the interaction of the Wampanoag and English peoples, a story that significantly shaped the building of America.

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