Masphee Wampanoag celebrate milestone of federal recognition

Cambridge, Massachusetts (AP) 11-07

Members of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe celebrate their federal recognition with a ceremony including drums and dances at Harvard’s Peabody Museum.

In their “crossroads” ritual, tribe members touched their tongues to small branches and placed them on a ceremonial blanket. The tribe was granted federal recognition last spring.

The tribe’s leaders also say they are seeking the return of artifacts they identified in a visit to Britain three decades ago.

Many of the tribe’s historic items are at the Harvard museum. Tribal chairman Shawn Hendricks says that’s the safest place for them for now.

The Harvard museum’s associate curator, Patricia Capone, says some items, including human remains and funeral items, have been returned to the tribe.

Hendricks says the tribe did not celebrating Thanksgiving, but some members joined other New England tribes in Plymouth for a National Day of Mourning.