"Our"Story: 400 Years of Wampanoag History

This interactive exhibit shines a light on pieces of history 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. 

"Our"Story: 400 Years of Wampanoag History will be expanded each year leading up to 2020 with additional pieces of Wampanoag history, and will travel throughout the region. The exhibition will be open to the public at this year's "Big E" in the Massachusetts Building on the "Avenue of States", through September 30. The Big E is held at the Eastern States Exposition on 1305 Memorial Ave. in West Springfield, Massachusetts. Admission to the exhibit is free with Big E admission. 

The latest chapter is called "Powwow" and it features the cultural richness of contemporary Wampanoag Tribe members.  "Our"Story debuted this theme at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center during the annual Veterans Day Powwow this past November. "Powwow" made its Massachusetts debut in America's Hometown at Pilgrim Hall Museum and before it was moved to the NEHGS on Newbury Street in Boston. 

Chapter 1. Captured: 1614

"Captured: 1614" tells a critical back story to colonization and the roots of the American holiday, Thanksgiving.

The first chapter of "Our"Story details the 1614 kidnapping of twenty Wampanoag men from Patuxet, the Wampanoag village that eventually became Plymouth Colony, by European explorers who planned to sell them and the additional seven Natives taken from Nauset on Cape Cod as slaves in Spain. Only one of the Native men is known to have returned home: Tisquantum,who came to be known as Squanto, who was able to communicate with the Pilgrims and even taught them important lessons for surviving in their unfamiliar New World.


Chapter 2. The Messenger Runner

The Messenger Runner will add new context regarding the Wampanoag tribe’s historic traditions and territory. Visitors to the exhibit will learn about how members of the Tribe were chosen, based upon their endurance and their capacity for memory, to run to neighboring villages and territories to deliver essential messages. 

Tell us YOUR message to the world! Tweet @Plymouth_400 using #TheMessengerRunner.


Chapter 3. The Great Dying

God’s will or unfortunate circumstance? Our newest addition to the “Our” Story exhibit explores this difficult question and the catastrophic plague that killed tens of thousands of native people between 1616 and 1619 from Cape Cod to Maine. This event weakened the Wampanoag nation politically, economically and militarily and forever changed the landscape of this country.


Learn More:


Exhibit Media: 
Captured 1614: Introduction