This morning I'm attending the second to last panels of the conference! "Writing Ourselves into Existence: Authors’ Roundtable: New England Native Authors and Literature" with Siobhan Senier @ssenier, Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel (Mohegan) @tantaquidgeon, Carol Dana (Penobscot),
John Christian Hopkins (Penobscot), Cheryl Savageau (Abenaki), and Linda Coombs (Aquinnah Wampanoag). This has been a fantastic conference, I hate that this is the last weekend! Thanks to all for your hard work! @Plymouth_400 @BridgeStateU @joyce_rain18
Dawnland Voices edited by @ssenier is the first collection of its kind from Indigenous authors from what is now referred to as New England. Tribes are very good at shepherding their own literary works.
Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel (Mohegan) @tantaquidgeon is up first. Platforms are critical to our writing, we must be seen, and Dawnland Voices was a fantastic platform. Indigenous peoples have always been "writing ourselves into existence."
Zobel: Loves writing books but is now also writing plays. Working with her daughter, Madeline Sayet, in producing them. One of the plays is Flying Bird's Diary based on Flying Bird's (Mohegan) diaries and papers.…
Zobel: Latest is a zoom drama called Up and Down the River, performed by tribal members. Starts tomorrow! Get your tix here:…
Zobel: Indigenous writers take part in "ongoing acts of resistance necessary to survive." - Madeline Sayet, theater director and Zobel's daughter.
Dawnland Voices is available from @UnivNebPress here…
See also the online writing journal featuring Indigenous writing from New England
Carol Dana is next discussing her inspirations and what culture means to her, how it influences her writing. She will continue to write "to celebrate what sometimes seems like a hellish life." The work continues.
John Christian Hopkins is up next. Feels he was born to write. Didn't have a lot of positive Native role models growing up, so now he always includes Native characters in his books and tries to portray them in roles we don't normally see them in. Strives to educate and entertain.
Hopkins: Opening doors for other Native journalists and writers coming after him. Trying to dispel stereotypes and blaze trails for younger generations.
Cheryl Savageau is next. Her 2020 memoir Out of the Crazywoods is available @UnivNebPress…
Out of the Crazywoods was included in my May 2020 Reads for the Rest of Us @MsMagazine as well.… It's a thrill to hear her speak.
Savageau: Finds it important to give back. Will now read from her poem, Looking for Indians, which examines Native identity and where ideas of "what Indian is" come from. Fights cultural genocide by writing her people's experiences in poetry. Feels it's her responsibility.
Savageau: Speaks of the importance of water #waterislife and the centrality of language and active verbs in the languages. Important to listen to the stories of the past and then add your own generational stories to the tribal voice and collective memory.
Savageau: Reads from a poem called Red. Speaks of the importance of trees and the land, how they reassert themselves. Even the poem is in the shape of a tree.
Savageau: Reads another poem, Grandmother Knits, about survivance, ode to all of the Native people working on survival of food, tradition, land, culture, even or especially in new ways.
Linda Coombs is next. Great historian, cultural knowledge worker. Also did an amazing job planning this conference with @joyce_rain18! Says she feels like an "anthill among mountains" with these fabulous writers. Feel more like a historian who occasionally wrote some things down.
Coombs: Wampanoag learned to read and write their language very early on. One of the first Wampanoag pieces produced is a translation of the Bible, which shows attempts to make sense of colonization. Wampanoag didn't have concepts for everything in the Bible, like "hell".
Coombs: Wampanoag word for hell translates to "empty skull". Traditional Wampanoag belief is that the soul resides in the brain, so this is a terrifying concept. But Wampanoag also felt like they had to dumb down their understandings to meet Christian beliefs.
Coombs: Throughout the 1700s and 1800s thousands of documents were produced in Wampanoag; felt that because the English had a piece of paper for everything, they should too, to protect themselves, their land, etc.
Coombs: Wampanoag language changed over time and throughout contact. The word for "my land" in the past indicated one couldn't be separated from the land. This changed in the mid-1800s as Wampanoag peoples continued to be forcibly separated from their land.
Coombs: Wampanoag writings continued into the 19th and 20th centuries in many forms, such as pamphlets, recipes, legal documents, histories, transcriptions of interviews, creative writing, and more.
Coombs: Also must be know what non-Natives are writing about Native peoples. It's a skill to critically read these writings. "You can't fix it if you don't know what it is." Coombs does reviews of books as well that tell Native histories or include Native representation.
Coombs: Looks for hidden, insidious messages and stereotypes about Native Americans in books. This work is necessary and challenging.
Savageau: Very concerning when Native people in the Northeast are not represented or portrayed. The narrative of the disappearance of Natives in "New England" is wrong. Even other Native Americans often fall prey to this giant, dangerous error.
Coombs: The Native Americans in "New England" at contact didn't just run out to meet the colonists with open arms. They fought back. They worked to maintain their cultures. The narrative that Native Americans are gone from this area is pervasive and very damaging.
Zobel: Wake up, everyone! Native Americans exist in "New England"! You can no longer claim ignorance about this; it's a damaging and hurtful narrative. Native peoples in New England exist and are writing and creating valuable works. Why are they not included in anthologies?
Hopkins: My people (in the northeast) have been dealing with colonization for 400 years! See how your culture and traditions survive after fighting for this long. This is in part why many people don't know the languages or traditions but other tribes have this issue as well.

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More from @karlajstrand

22 Nov
Sherri Mitchell (Penobscot) is the final speaker at the #Indigenous History Conference. She is the author of the award-winning book Sacred Instructions; Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change.
Mitchell: What guidance have I been given that will lead me into the future? It's a circular route that we travel. We have to be living for all of our relations. This is how prayers are ended, relations are acknowledged.
Mitchell: so maybe that's where we should begin: how do we be good relatives? Think about grandmothers, mothers, aunties, they are the ones who have taught us how to be a good relative. This matrilineal line was directly attacked by colonialism and patriarchy.
Read 27 tweets
22 Nov
Really excited for this final session of the #Indigenous History Conference today!
Robin Wall Kimmerer is first up. If you haven't read her classic BRAIDING SWEETGRASS, you should get the beautiful special edition of it now (would make a great holiday gift!) from Milkweed Editions @Milkweed_Books:…
Kimmerer: Will discuss the prophecies of the Seventh Fire which counter the myth of the First Thanksgiving and the overall lack of Native American historical literacy.
Read 28 tweets
21 Nov
And the second session today at the #Indigenous History Conference is "From Traditional Knowledge to Colonial Oversight to Indigenous Integration: Educator’s Roundtable Indian Education in New England" with Alice Nash, Tobias Vanderhoop (Aquinnah Wampanoag),
Jennifer Weston (Hunkpapa Lakota, Standing Rock), and
Alyssa Mt. Pleasant (Tuscarora).
Vanderhoop: "The colonial system of education happened to us." Wampanoag in the colonized schools were seen as more controllable, agreeable, etc. But their intention to get rid of Native Americans via the colonize education system failed.
Read 18 tweets
19 Nov
Happening NOW - I'm there are you?
Panelists include LaVar Charleston @DrLJCharleston, Rob DZ @iamrobdz, Michael Ford @HipHopArch, Duane Holland Jr, Michele Byrd-McPhee @ladiesofhiphop, and Sofia Snow. @UWMadEducation @uw_diversity
Other links to check out:
Read 8 tweets
1 Nov
Excited to attend the #Indigenous History Conference once again today. It has been fantastic so far!
First panel today is #Decolonizing Methodologies: Challenging Colonial Institutions with Lisa King (Delaware), @CLegutko, and Christine Delucia. @Plymouth_400 @BridgeStateU #twitterstorians
King: How can we decolonize methodologies? Why is it important? How are we doing it in our work?
Read 74 tweets
25 Oct
I’ll be there; this has been a fantastic conference.
First is "Wampum Research and Relations" with Marge Bruchac and Paula Peters @SonkWaban. @Plymouth_400
Bruchac will discuss identifying Wampum objects in museums. Has performed surveys of museums between 2014-2018 called "On the Wampum Trail" looking for and examining wampum.
Read 66 tweets

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