Bassetlaw Museum presented a new side to the well-known story of the Mayflower Pilgrims during a unique cultural exchange in which representatives from the Wampanoag Nation were welcomed to Bassetlaw. The Wampanoag Perspective Project explores the culture, perspective and history of the Wampanoag Tribe, and their shared history with the Pilgrims.
The Wampanoag Perspective Project is led by Bassetlaw District Council and funded by the Arts Council and Nottinghamshire County Council. Between 21 – 25 September 2021 the exciting project gave visitors to Bassetlaw Museum and Pilgrims Gallery the unique experience to gain a better understanding of the Wampanoag people through a variety of engaging activities and the exploration of themes including freedom, tolerance and acceptance.
Steven Peters, Hartman Deetz, Mark Harding and Troy Currence constructed a wetu (traditional Native American dwelling) on the grounds of the Museum, where it will remain as a learning resource for future visitors. Over the course of the week, over 600 children from 14 schools across Bassetlaw came to the Museum to learn about the Wampanoag perspective through dedicated educational sessions.
On Thursday 23 September members of the Wampanoag Nation answered the public’s questions in a thought-provoking seminar that gave over 60 attendees in-depth insight into Wampanoag culture and heritage. On the final day of the visit (Saturday 25 September) over 400 people visited the Museum, with many learning about Wampanoag traditions by directly participating in music and dancing in a series of cultural showcases led by the members of the Wampanoag Nation.
Isabelle Richards, Heritage Engagement Officer at Bassetlaw Museum said: “Despite the challenges caused by the pandemic, the project had an even greater impact than we could have hoped for. It was a wonderful week that saw engagement across many demographics from near and far. This incredible outreach was made possible by our generous funding partners, our fabulous volunteers, but most especially by the honesty, grace and openness of our guests”.
Councillor Keith Girling, chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Economic Development and Asset Management Committee, said: “I am delighted we were able to contribute funding from our Economic Initiatives Budget to support the Wampanoag Perspective Project.
“The project provides us with a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the unique culture of Native American traditions and how future generations can learn more about the importance of acceptance and inclusion.
“Visiting the project is a sobering experience and one which gives us all a greater understanding of the history surrounding the Mayflower story and the Wampanoag people.”
The Wampanoag were welcomed to the district with a Civic Reception at Retford Town Hall where speeches were given by The Deputy Lord Lieutenant Nigel Chapman, Nottinghamshire County Council Chairman, Councillor Mike Quigley, Bassetlaw District Council Chairman, Cllr Jack Bowker and Stephen Peters from the Wampanoag Nation.
The week was a captivating experience, giving many the once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn about the lesser-known side to an otherwise familiar story, directly from some of relatives of those who first met the Pilgrims as they arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620. A series of learning resources will be added to the Pilgrim Roots website as the project continues.
Last Updated on Wednesday, April 13, 2022