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New Wampanoag exhibit aims to highlight realities of history

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Plymouth 400

Display to be installed Sunday at Mashpee Commons.
MASHPEE — An interactive educational exhibit about the history and culture of the Wampanoag people is coming to Mashpee Commons for the month of July.
Plymouth 400′s “Our” Story Wampanoag exhibit will be installed inside a store within the commercial district on Sunday. The display comprises various picture panels and offers viewers a way to watch and listen to presentations on Wampanoag history.
Plymouth 400 is a nonprofit group formed to organize events and programs commemorating the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the Mayflower and the founding of Plymouth Colony.
The modular exhibit has traveled around New England. It was most recently on display at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston.
First proposed in 2014 by tribe member and independent tribal scholar Paula Peters, the installation gets bigger every year as new themes are added. Peters proposed the educational exhibit as a way of highlighting the history surrounding the meeting between the natives and the Pilgrims, but also to present the history from the native experience.
“It’s not a secret that our history has been marginalized and misinterpreted,” Peters said.
Peters said the story of the Wampanoag people is largely left out of the standard account of colonial history. Having written extensively on the subject, Peters said she worries about the spread of misinformation about Native American history.
Peters said the project of putting together the installation included contributions from the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and members of other Wampanoag tribal bands. She credits Linda Coombs, program coordinator for the Aquinnah Cultural Center, for her contribution.
The exhibit debuted in 2014 as “Captured 1614,” which offered insight into the “colonization and the roots” of Thanksgiving.

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