UMass Boston Cosponsors Boston Harbor Islands 2011 Native American Summer Festival

Office of Communications | August 02, 2011
UMass Boston Cosponsors Boston Harbor Islands 2011 Native American Summer Festival

UMass Boston's Institute for New England Native American Studies is cosponsoring the Boston Harbor Islands Native American Festival on Saturday, August 6, on Georges Island.

Georges Island will be filled with the harmony of Native women singing traditional and contemporary songs along with the beat of the drum as regional Native performers, educators, and community members gather to commemorate the Native history of the Boston Harbor Islands and celebrate ongoing Native persistence of the peoples who called the area of the islands home.

The event, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. is free to the public.

The Nettukkusqk Singers, Wakeby Lake Singers, and Native educators from the Wampanoag Indigenous Program of Plimoth Plantation, demonstrators from the New England Foundation for the Arts, and author Larry Mann will provide examples of the best of contemporary and traditional New England Native people’s song, storytelling, and educational exhibits.

The Nettukkusqk Singers, formed by Wampanoag and Nipmuc women from Rhode Island and Massachusetts in 1994 at the Deer Island Memorial to reclaim women’s drumming and singing traditions from their tribal communities, offer songs in English, several dialects of southern New England Algonkian, and vocables. The Nettukkusqk Singers continue to perform at traditional venues in their home communities, pow wows and festivals.

Larry Mann (Nipmuck), is a cultural educator, performer and published author. He travels throughout the United States and Canada to schools, colleges, pow wows and other organizations sharing the music, culture and history of Nipmuck people. He has also given lectures at universities throughout New England on issues ranging from tribal sovereignty to Native identity.

The Wampanoag Indigenous Program of Plimoth Plantation will have several staff present providing demonstrations on Native style weaving, Native culture related to the marine environment, and children’s games. These museum professionals educate thousands of visitors a year about 17th century and contemporary Wampanoag culture.

New England Foundation for the Arts’ Dawn Spears and husband Cassius Spears, Sr. will provide cooking demonstrations of Native New England foods.  Dawn is the coordinator of NEFA's Native Arts program, which supports Native American artists and organizations in New England and nationally through grant making and network development.

Earl (Chiefie) Mills Jr., a respected Mashpee Wampanoag traditionalist, will serve as the Master of Ceremonies for the festival, while Wakeby Lake, a Mashpee Wampanoag men’s drum, will provide songs for exhibition, intertribal, and social dances.

This event is also co-sponsored by National Park Service, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Boston Harbor Island Alliance, New England Foundation for the Arts, and the Wampanoag Indigenous Program of Plimoth Plantation.

Ferries can be taken to Georges Island from either Long Wharf in Boston or Quincy. Please visit for ferry details. For more information visit or call 617-223-8666.

Tags: art , community , culture , institute for new england native american studies

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