Pokanokets protest at Burr’s Hill

Local Tribe upset they were "shut out" of formal repatriation ceremony by Cape, Vineyard-based confederation


Members of the Pokanoket Wampanoag tribe, who claim a direct blood link to Wampanoag Massasoit Ousameequin, demonstrated outside a ceremony marking the reinterment of Native American remains and artifacts at Burr’s Hill Park Saturday afternoon.

“This is identity theft, no doubt about it,” said Po Wauipi Neimpaug of Barrington, the sagamore of the Pokanoket tribe, which historically called what is now Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts their home.

Saturday’s repatriation event was held by the Wampanoag Confederation, a group of Wampanoag tribes from Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard that have been working for more than 20 years to have their ancestors’ remains reinterred at Burr’s Hill, once a Native American burying ground.
Neimpaug said prior to the repatriation that the Pokanokets were formally “shut out” of the ceremony by the Massachusetts confederation as they are not federally recognized as a Native American tribe.
“We are the ones that stayed,” he said. “When King Philips War came they fled. Now they say we can’t participate?”
Though it is not a federally recognized tribe, the Pokanoket Wampanoag Tribe has been acknowledged as the indigenous people of Bristol County through proclamations from the town councils of Bristol, Warren and Barrington. The tribe claims to have direct family lines descending from the Ousameequin line, his children Amy, Po-Metacom\King Philip and Wamsutta, his brother Quadequina and his brother-in-law Annawan. 

“The Wampanoag Repatriation Confederation did an excellent job in successfully arranging for the repatriation of the grave contents from the royal burial ground at Burr's Hill,” Neimpaug said. “The Pokanoket Tribe is truly grateful that Massasoit's remains are finally coming home to the Royal burial ground. This is something the tribe has fought to do for many years, but due to laws favoring federally recognized tribes, the Pokanokets were not able to do this. The Pokanoket Tribe was locked out of the repatriation process.”
Unfortunately, he added, it wasn’t until a newspaper account of the repatriation ceremony was published the Pokanokets even became aware of the ceremony at Burr's Hill.
“This is a sacred event and it must be done properly without disturbing the spirit of our ancestors,” he wrote in a press release. “Being the direct descendants, the Pokanokets should have a part in the re-interment of our ancestors. The lineal descendants have tried to reach out to the Director of the Wampanoag Confederation with several phone calls from various people in their nation to no avail. The Mashpee Tribe are descendants of people who fled to avoid the King Philip War. For them not to acknowledge the descendants of Massasoit who fought and survived the war at this event is a total lack of protocol and an insult to the Massasoit family lines.”
An e-mail sent to Ramona Peters, Repatriation Coordinator for the Wampanoag Repatriation Confederation, was not returned.

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Honoré de Balzac

I think they all need a hit from the ol' peace pipe! (I'd like a drag too!)

Wednesday, May 17 | Report this

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