Here at Family Equality, we strive to be as inclusive as possible and grow in character with every year. This Family Week, we would like to acknowledge the Native Land that present day Provincetown stands on. Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee has issued this official statement:
“We believe it is imperative to begin by acknowledging that Family Week is taking place on the land of the Mashpee Wampanoag [wahm-puh-noh-ah] People. Provincetown is the starting point for colonization of the occupied lands known as the United States. The Pilgrim Monument commemorates the first invasion of the Pilgrims in 1620. By being here today, we continue to occupy the land and commit to exploring our place in that history. We would like to recognize the indigenous lives lost on this land and the continued fight for sovereignty for the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe in Mashpee, MA. Again, this is an acknowledgement of the history and first people of this land. By saying this, it does not absolve us from our continued commitment to indigenous people and decolonization. We acknowledge our place in history and commit to respecting the land and uplifting the work of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe; and we stand in solidarity with the indigenous peoples of the areas from which we traveled to be here.”
What we know as current day Provincetown is actually the land of the Mashpee Wampanoag People. The early colonization that took place in 1616 affected the entire Wampanoag Nation, from Provincetown to Narragansett Bay, where the Nation lost a multitude of people to yellow fever. This harsh impact of colonization continued on in 1620, when the Mayflower first arrived in Provincetown.
It is important to acknowledge the history of colonization on the land we inhabit, in addition to the continued colonization that occurs presently. Colonization is not a singular moment in time, it is a constant that continues to affect the surviving indigenous communities. Even recently, the Mashpee Wampanoag have been suffering a loss of resources as a result of a congressional battle to reaffirm their reservation as trust land in Massachusetts. The Mashpee Wampanoag are not just a part of history, they are an existing element of our current society.
Family Equality encourages you to seek out information about the Mashpee Wampanoag in understanding the history of the land we use. If you are driving to or from Provincetown, you may pass the Mashpee Wampanoag Museum in your travels. We hope you take the time to stop by and learn some more about the Mashpee Wampanoag and engage in family discussions about what you’ve discovered. You can find more information about the museum here, and here are additional resources to find out more about the tribe’s history and their actions today: