With Thanksgiving right around the corner it is refreshing to see that a new exhibit will be focusing on the Wampanoag tribes' real story instead of the romanticized tale we're used to hearing.
Told from the Native perspective, “Captured: 1614” 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, otherwise known as Squanto, the Native who with his knowledge of English was integral to the Mayflower Pilgrims’ survival during their first winter in 1621.
“This exhibit tells a story that answers the obvious, yet unasked question of; how were Squanto and Samoset so well-versed in the English language that they were able to communicate with and help the Pilgrims survive,” said Paula Peters, an active member of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe and Plymouth 400 Wampanoag Committee who produced the exhibit with her marketing firm, SmokeSygnals. “This is a critical piece of the history of Plymouth that can’t be told accurately without a Wampanoag voice, and I’m excited for this opportunity to tell our story on an international platform.”
Created by the Indian Spiritual and Cultural Training Council Inc. and SmokeSygnals Marketing and Communications, “Captured: 1614” was conceptualized, researched, and produced by a Wampanoag design team with complete editorial and content control. Members of the Mashpee Wampanoag and Aquinnah Wampanoag tribes portrayed historical figures for the exhibit and shared their experiences with media and invited guests at the exhibit’s opening event.
“Being asked to portray our ancestors was a humbling experience but I was proud to be called upon to do it,” said Alexandra Lopes-Pocknett of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe who can be seen in the exhibit’s video titled “An Empty Horizon.” “The Wampanoag still feel the effects of that historical drama today.”
Plymouth 400, Inc.’s first educational and cultural exhibit “Captured: 1614” is now open to the public at Plymouth Public Library in Plymouth, MA, where it will remain through March 2015. For more information on Captured: 1614, please visit www.plymouthma400.org