QUINCY, MA—“Our” Story: 400 Years of Wampanoag History, an educational and cultural exhibit about history and traditions of the Wampanoag Tribe, is currently on display at the Quincy Historical Society, located at 8 Adams Street in Quincy, Massachusetts. 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 open to the public throughout Native American Heritage Month this November, and visitors are encouraged to share their thoughts on “Our”Story using the hashtag #WampanoagStory.
“Our”Story was created to bring to light key legacies of America’s earliest beginnings from the Wampanoag perspective, a perspective that has largely been left out of the narrative of this iconic moment in American history. Told in the Native voice, this exhibit 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. The exhibit’s first chapter, “Captured 1614”, tells a critical back story to colonization and the roots of the American holiday, Thanksgiving. The second chapter, “The Messenger Runner”, highlights the Wampanoag tribe’s traditional communication network and tribal territories predating the Pilgrim’s arrival.
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 Wampanoag 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 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.”
“We are very pleased to be able to join with Discover Quincy in hosting “Our” Story here,” said Ed Fitzgerald, Executive Director of Quincy Historical Society. “The exhibit brings a sense of immediacy to the crucial early interactions between Wampanoags and Europeans. Those interactions had direct bearing on events in the area that would become Quincy, and they have influenced, in several ways, the history of both the region and the nation.”
“Our”Story is open to the public at Quincy Historical Society through December 31, 2016. Founded in 1893 by local citizens led by Charles Francis Adams, Jr., Quincy Historical Society is dedicated to preserving and promoting knowledge about the full range of Quincy history. It remains a community-based organization even as it deals with topics of national and international, as well as local, interest.
“Our”Story was displayed at both Mashpee and Aquinnah Powwows in 2015, in addition to several museums and libraries throughout New England. It received international media attention upon its debut for telling “the story of Squanto, and the millions he represents” (Public Radio International) and for “changing Thanksgiving’s history” (The Boston Globe). For more information on this exhibit, visit www.plymouth400inc.org/OurStory
About Plymouth 400, Inc.
Plymouth 400, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization 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 2020. The Plymouth 400 Anniversary 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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