Pokanokets: We are being shut out of sacred Burr's Hill ceremony
Bristol County Wampanoag tribe say they have right to participate, but have been blocked from Saturday event
A tribe which claims a direct blood link to Wampanoag chief Massasoit is upset that members are being “blocked” from participating in a private repatriation ceremony Saturday at Burr’s Hill in Warren, in which the remains of Massasoit and hundreds of other items will be reinterred in the historic Wampanoag burying ground.
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 Massasoit line, his children Amy, Po-Metacom\King Philip and Wamsutta, his brother Quadequina and his brother-in-law Annawan.
In a press release, tribe Sagamore Po Wauipi Neimpaug, Council of Seven Royal House/Pokanoket Nation wrote that it is inexcusable that different Wampanoag tribes, including the Mashpees of Cape Cod, are barring the Bristol County tribe from participating in the sacred event in its historic home.
Who are the Pokanokets? Read more here
“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,” he wrote. “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. “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.
Sagamore Po Wauipi Neimpaug said the Pokanokets will not be spectators, and instead will do a property interment ceremony at a later date.
An e-mail sent to Ramona Peters, Repatriation Coordinator for the Wampanoag Repatriation Confederation, was not returned.