FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Brian Logan
508-812-2020, ext. 118
The next stop for Plymouth 400's Traveling “Our”Story Wampanoag History Exhibit will be at the Big E in the Massachusetts Building
WEST SPRINGFIELD (August 28, 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 this year’s “Big E” in the Massachusetts Building from September 14-30. 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. Admission to the exhibit is free with Big E admission.
“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.
Each year, a new theme is added to the exhibit; the first installation debuted in 2014 with “Captured 1614,” a critical back story to colonization and the roots of the American holiday, Thanksgiving. “The Messenger Runner” added new context regarding the Wampanoag tribe’s communication traditions. The “The Great Dying,” depicts the catastrophic effects of a plague that devastated the Wampanoag nation between 1616 and 1619. The newest panel, titled “Powwow” was introduced in
November 2017. It explores the traditions around gathering and giving thanks with a mix of interactive video, contemporary native art, and photos collected by the Mashpee and Aquinnah powwows, held annually in July and September respectively.
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.”
“Our”Story was displayed at the New England Historic Genealogical Society on Newbury Street in Boston April through May of this year and, prior to that, was at Pilgrim Hall Museum for the month of March, in addition to several museums and libraries throughout New England prior to that. 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).
At press time, the exhibit is on Martha’s Vineyard at the Aquinnah Cultural Center and will be on display there until it packs up and heads back to the mainland for the Big E! Parties interested in hosting this exhibit should contact Plymouth 400 at 508-812-2020.
Plymouth, Massachusetts 400th Commission
On September 20, 2016, Governor Charlie Baker signed an Executive Order, which reaffirmed and expanded the 35-member Plymouth, Massachusetts 400th Commission, who will be charged with ensuring a befitting national and state observance of the settlement of Plymouth Colony in 1620, including opportunities for local, state, national and global educational programming and interaction and a reflection of Massachusetts’ rich history, natural resources and diverse cultural contributions.
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.