Week 13—MTS personal update

It’s been a great week. There are all the loose ends to sort of tie together, but they are being tied. We had a great meeting on Saturday and settled on key dates to wrap things up and start testing, and it all feels doable. Knowing me, I’ll throw in some extra tasks (still more activists who could be written up and added to this iteration!!), but I’ll try not to be unreasonable. 

Last Saturday, Estefany and I attended the 11th Annual Columbia University Pow wow. Estefany met my kids, and I got to share a little pan-Indian culture with her. We put in a valiant effort to win the potato dance along side my sons, and we danced a twisty-turny two-step. Although there was nothing specific to the Wampanoag on display, going to pow wows always bring strong feelings of taking in strong medicine. The drumbeat always heals me and centers me, and I enjoy the flashbacks of spending summers on the pow wow circuit with my mother.  

Before the break I was able to correspond with Professor George Price a bit, and I’m looking forward to getting more of his input on the work as a whole. We started an interesting discussion about the threat of kidnapping faced by Wampanoag of mixed heritage who didn’t live within native communities. He also pointed me to a passage in his book, The Eastons: Five Generations of Human Rights Activism, 1748-1935 (about a prominent and exceptional mixed family of Wampanoag heritage from whom he depends), in which Hosea Easton considers the different attitudes that whites had towards Indians and Afro-Americans. In it H. Easton offers that whites had gotten what they wanted from the native community: land, and so they no longer considered them as a threat or even really existing, despite evidence to the contrary. On the other hand, it was their very bodies and labor of Afro-Americans that whites wanted and that was a perpetual location for exploitation holding a continued emotional/political/economic charge. This has me thinking about how the Wampanoag, mixed and otherwise, denied this role as innocuous or irrelevant subdued wards, and made their presence and intentions known through, among other things, their activism.