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Native Americans Call for Boycott of 'Toneless' Pilgrim Museum

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The Associated Press

Associated Press

Philippe Marcelo

Plymouth, Massachusetts (AP) — Massachusetts Native Americans are popular for their colonial reenactment narratives depicting life in Plymouth. We are calling for a boycott of a living history museum in , a famous English settlement founded by pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower.

Members of the state's Wampanoag community and their supporters have pledged that the Plimoth Patouset Museum will create a "bicultural museum" that equally tells the stories of the Europeans and Indigenous peoples who lived there. say you haven't played

According to them, the "Historic Patouset Homesite," part of a largely open-air museum focused on traditional Indigenous life, , said to be too small and in need of repair and staffed by workers who are not. from local tribes.

"I'm saying don't patronize them, don't work there," said Camille Madison, a member of the Wampanoag tribe, Aquina of Martha's Vineyard. media. "Until they find a way to respect their knowledge and experience, we don't want to deal with them."

This concern is part of the year-long celebration of the Mayflower's 400th anniversary. , just two years after the museum changed its name from Plymouth Plantation to Plymouth Patouset.

At the time, the museum was given a "newer and more balanced" moniker, reflecting the importance of the Indigenous perspective to the 75-year-old museum's educational mission. I declared that I was

"Patuxet" was an indigenous community near "Plymouth" and was known as a Pilgrim colony before it became present-day Plymouth. By the time the Mayflower arrived, it had been badly devastated by European disease, but one of her survivors, Tisquantum, nicknamed Squantum, helped the English settlers survive the first winter. is famous for

"They've changed their names, but they haven't changed their attitudes," said Mashpee, who worked at the museum for nearly 20 years. Paula Peters, who was serving, said. "They are not doing anything to please the tribe. Every step they take falls on deaf ears."

Museum spokesperson Rob Kruin said in a statement emailed to the Associated Press that the museum will expand Wampanoag's outdoor exhibits, raise more than $2 million for a new Indigenous Program building, and "recruit staff from the Native community." He declined to elaborate.

This statement was received by the museum to promote its Native American education program.2 It also mentions two grants, including more than $160,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities, to hold a workshop this summer for teachers on how to bring Indigenous voices into history lessons.

The museum also said the new director of Algonquian display and interpretation is Aquinnah Wampanoag, a member of the Tribal Board of Education.

Carol Pollard, whose brother Anthony "Nanepashemet" Pollard played a key role in the development of the museum's indigenous programs as the chief historian of the Wampanoag, expressed dismay at the situation.

Last week, a large gap was evident in the battered bark roof of a large Wetu, or traditional Wampanoag dwelling, which is the focal point of an Indigenous exhibit at the site. Neither of the two museum interpreters present wore traditional folk costumes, while in the museum's pilgrim quarter the thatched roofs of the colonial houses were recently restored and many performers were present.

"I know my brother will be very disappointed," said Pollard, who also worked as a museum gardener until last summer. I was. "Certainly, people wearing khaki and navy blue tops were not my brother's vision."

For years, museum officials ignored their proposals to modernize and expand the outdoor exhibits, he said.

It is the many long-time visitors who, combined with low wages and poor working conditions, have made this program a must-see attraction by showcasing authentic indigenous farming, cooking, canoeing, and more. Native led to the turnover of his staff. Cultural practice, they say.

"For more than a decade, museums have systematically dismantled outdoor exhibits," said the Wampanoag Consulting Alliance, a native group that includes Peters and other former museum staff, in a statement late last month. said in “The physical exhibits are in a deplorable state, with many steps taken to provide equivalent representation for Wampanoag programming. As a result, the Wampanoag community has effectively been completely marginalized.

Kitty Hendricks Miller of Mashpee Wampanoag, who was a Wampanoag exhibition supervisor in the 1990s and early 2000s, explained what non-Indigenous families and students took away. Say you are worried about what you are doing. Their visit to the museum remains a school excursion rite of passage for many in New England. We have encouraged teachers to reach out directly to indigenous communities when seeking a systematically accurate program.

"Some people are reluctant to admit that times have changed," said Casey Figueroa, who worked as an interpreter at the museum for years until 2015. In terms of the problems we face today, from immigration to racism to climate change, they've gone backwards.