Video: Pokanokets march on Brown

'We want back what was taken from us'

Posted

PROVIDENCE — Leader of the Pokanokets, Sagamore William Guy, spoke to reporters at the entrance of the Brown University Green on Prospect St. after leading the tribe from Hope High School into Brown on Tuesday afternoon. The university which had every entrance blocked with police, was preparing for its freshman convocation when the Pokanokets came marching up Waterman St. to the Green.

 

Sagamore William Guy said, "The land is our holy and sacred ground. Many of our present day ceremonies are still held there. For years we had to pay to go onto the land. There is no clear title to the land. We want back what was taken from us. If the English would come over here today and did what they did to my people back then, (beheaded King Philip and hung it at Plymoth Plantation for 25 years as an example), the world would be outraged.

"And we are outraged.

"It's finally come to this. We are marching because we could not engage the powers to be of this state by any means possible. 

"There isn't a clear title to anything at Mt. Hope. Because they killed the only man (King Philip) who could sign the land over to them.

"We are still here. They would tell you that the Pokanokets are all dead, but we are stil here and we are taking back what was wrongfully taken from us. That's the bottom line."

Sagamore William Guy said that the protest would be peaceful and would just stand with their signs as an awareness to their pilght as the students walked into the convocation.

The tribe protested Brown University's ownership of ancestral tribal land along the shores of Mount Hope Bay in Bristol.

The Pokanokets are demanding that Brown return nearly 400 acres of land to them. They began with a surprise encampment on the Bristol land more than two weeks ago, and they staged Tuesday afternoon's march and rally in Providence.

After gathering at Hope High School, the protesters marched south to the Brown University Green, where freshmen convocation is taking place later today. Chanting and singing along they way, they reached the entrance to the Green and went no further.

Security officers and uniformed police officers were out in force, preventing the group from entering the campus quad.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.