WAMPANOAG perspective

The WAMPANOAG Perspectives Project

Bassetlaw Museum and the Pilgrim Gallery presented a new side to the well known story of the Mayflower Pilgrims during a unique cultural exchange in which representatives from the Wampanoag Nation were welcomed to Bassetlaw. The Wampanoag Perspective Project explores the culture, perspective and history of the Wampanoag, and their shared history with the Pilgrims.

The Wampanoag Perspective Project is led by Bassetlaw District Council and funded by the Arts Council and Nottinghamshire County Council. Between 21 - 25 September 2021 the exciting project gave visitors to Bassetlaw Museum and the Pilgrims Gallery the unique experience to gain a better understanding of the Wampanoag people through a variety of engaging activities and the exploration of themes including freedom, tolerance and acceptance. 

Steven Peters, Hartman Deetz, Mark Harding and Troy Currence constructed a wetu (traditional Native American dwelling) on the grounds of the Museum, where it will remain as a learning resource for future visitors. Over the course of the week, over 600 children from 14 schools across Bassetlaw came to the Museum to learn about the Wampanoag perspective through dedicated educational sessions.
On Thursday 23 September members of the Wampanoag Nation answered the public’s questions in a thought-provoking seminar that gave over 60 attendees in-depth insight into Wampanoag culture and heritage. On the final day of the visit (Saturday 25 September) over 400 people visited the Museum, with many learning about Wampanoag traditions by directly participating in music and dancing in a series of cultural showcases led by the members of the Wampanoag Nation.

The Wampanoag were welcomed to the district with a Civic Reception at Retford Town Hall where speeches were given by The Deputy Lord Lieutenant Nigel Chapman, Nottinghamshire County Council Chairman, Councillor Mike Quigley, Bassetlaw District Council Chairman, Cllr Jack Bowker and Stephen Peters from the Wampanoag Nation.

The week was a captivating experience, giving many the once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn about the lesser-known side to an otherwise familiar story, directly from some of relatives of those who first met the Pilgrims as they arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620.

To find out more about the project you can watch the documentary and seminar below.

The Wampanoag Perspectives Documentary

The Wampanoag Perspectives Seminar

In January 2022, Bassetlaw Museum and Pilgrims Gallery invited people from around the globe to attend the Wampanoag Perspectives Conference, an online event that explored the themes of acceptance, migration and freedom. The conference continued the conversation sparked by the Wampanoag Perspective Project and presented the opportunity to learn more about Wampanoag history and culture.

The conference featured various case studies that examined past and present injustices and highlighted the work of projects and groups that seek to share histories more accurately. The event included talks from key speakers such as Paula Peters, founder of SmokeSygnals and citizen of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, and Lord John Mann, an independent advisor on anti-Semitism. You can view all the talks in their entirety via the links below on our Youtube Channel.

Paula Peters, expert on Wampanoag History said: “It’s been inspiring to forge new connections overseas. Connections that have deepened our understanding of the world around us and challenged the assumptions we once held as truth. Exploring ideological absolutes – civility and savagery, and freedom and tyranny – throughout the conference will hopefully allow us to grow into a better people tomorrow.”

The conference was part of the Wampanoag Perspective cultural exchange project, funded by the Arts Council, Nottinghamshire County Council and Bassetlaw District Council. The week-long visit to Bassetlaw in September 2021 was an engaging opportunity for local students, residents and visitors to learn about Wampanoag culture and history.
Cllr Jo White, Cabinet Member for Regeneration at Bassetlaw District Council said: “The visit of representatives of the Wampanoag Nation was a great experience for residents, schools and visitors to Bassetlaw. The conference enabled us to share the project story more widely and invite an international audience to engage with issues raised by the Wampanoag perspective.”

Councillor Keith Girling, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Economic Development and Asset Management Committee said: “The Wampanoag Perspective Project has provided us with a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the unique culture of Native American traditions and how future generations can learn more about the importance of acceptance and inclusion.

“The visit of representatives of the Wampanoag Nation to Bassetlaw in September also gave us a greater understanding of the history surrounding the Mayflower Pilgrims story and the Wampanoag people and I the conference was equally thought-provoking.”

Click the links below to enjoy the Wampanoag Perspectives Conference in full.

Welcome - Sandra Withington

Keynote - Lord John Mann

Keynote - Paula Peters

Steven Peters - SmokeSygnals

Emily Miller - Migration Museum

David Weidner - Provincetown

Hartman Deetz - Mashpee

Helen Saville and A.M. Dasu

NCC and LiveWell