Indian Slavery: An Unspoken History

My name is Raymond
Two Hawks Watson. And as I mentioned, I am CEO
and founder of the Providence Culture Equity
Initiative, which is one of the lead sponsors on
the Seventh Annual New England Native American Culture Week. Before I go any
further, I do want to take a moment to acknowledge
the sponsors of the week. We’ll start with our fantastic
sponsor for tonight’s evening– this evening’s
event– the Center for the Study of
Slavery and Justice, here at Brown University. And of course, Dr.
Tony [? Bouges, ?] he’s right over in
the corner there. So thank him very much
for his hospitality and hosting us here. [APPLAUSE] Roger Williams University
School of Continuing Studies has been a sponsor, as well, as
Rhode Island College, the Rhode Island State Council
for the Arts. National Park Service, for
the powwow will be doing– and I’m going to
touch base on some of the events that have been
taken place this week, as well. Eastern Medicine Singers, and
Chief Daryl Black Eagle Jamison is here, as well. He’s the head of the Eastern
Medicine Singers [? Drum– ?] very supportive
since we’ve started. And basically all
of the individuals who in their
individual capacities come out to support and raise
awareness about New England Native American culture,
because we found that it doesn’t necessarily get the
attention, or awareness raised about it, that other
Indian cultures in North America, and beyond, get. So we really started this seven
years ago in a conversation between [INAUDIBLE], from
a Rhode Island College, and myself, about the
interest in just raising more awareness about
the cultures that were specific to this area. It started off with
just a conversation about having a powwow. But we soon realized that
just doing the powwow wasn’t enough because
people come to powwows and they leave without
really understanding anything about the culture. It’s more of a
spectacle for them, and we definitely like to
share our culture in that way. But we wanted to encourage
actual academic, sort of, dialogue and conversation,
and learning. We wanted to facilitate learning
about our culture, our history, who are people are. And as [? creator ?]
would have it, we’re here on our
seventh year, so it’s been a fantastic week of
programming, thus far. We started on Monday
with a panel discussion entitled, “Squanto:
Friend of Foe,” which was held at
Rhode Island College. And we discussed the
historical figure of Squanto, and actually realized that’s
not actually his real name. Was is [? Tisquantum? ?] And
[? Tisquantum ?] means, man, in [INAUDIBLE]? So we were basically
calling him man. And the role that he played
getting kidnapped, taken over Europe, finding his
way back, getting kidnapped, brought back over there again. And then eventually
making his way to be a translator
between the Indians that were in the area,
and the colonists, and all of the– for lack
of a better term– drama that came out of that, and
how it’s impacted us, even until this day. So it was a very lively
discussion, pretty well attended, and it was a great
way to kick off that week. Tuesday, we had a
Nikkmo Meswne drum social in the courtyard for
Roger Williams University’s School of Continuing Studies. It was an excellent event. And it was a great way to show
right in the heart of the city that our culture
is alive and well. So if people were driving
down Empire Street, riding [? by AS220, ?] they saw
a cultural vendor out there, they saw a food vendor out there
serving traditional New England Native American cultural foods. And they saw the Eastern
Medicine Singers out there, rocking away as we usually do. So it was a very nice time. We do, once again, appreciate
Roger Williams University for facilitating that, as well. Last night we
supported a gentleman by the name of
Walter Callender, who has a fantastic initiative
called, Practico Innovations, which seeks to find,
and highlight, and give financial resources and
supports to individuals with innovative ideas that are
coming from communities that are invisible in plain sight. So the basic premise
behind Practical Innovation is that so many innovative ideas
that have impacted the world, have been found by
big corporate entities going into third
world countries, and looking at what
people are doing to survive on a daily basis. So they go and they kind
of study these people, and then they come
back here, and they have the facilities
and resources to take it to the next level. So they make lots of money
off of these products, like syringes, and Tide, and
all of these different things that we use in our everyday
life that we don’t understand, came out of someone trying
to figure out a way to just survive on a daily basis. So Practical
Innovations makes it a point to target individuals
from those communities. And he had reached
out to us wanting to connect with the local
Native American community. So we supported that
event last night as part of New England
Native American Culture Week. And we’ll be following
up with an event with them sponsored by
Rick, as well, sometime in the near future. Of course, tonight we’re
here for our panel discussion on Indian slavery,
and Unspoken History. And I’m really
excited about this. As I started to learn
more about my own history, one of the most exciting, and
also daunting and saddening things, was to learn that a
large amount of the slaves that were enslaved were actually
darker skinned Indians, and it’s not talked
about as much as it is the experiences about
African brothers and sisters. So we want to add that
element to the discussion, as well, to understand that this
thing called, slavery, it’s not just for one group of people. It’s not just the
Africans who are enslaved. A lot of Irish
brothers and sisters made their way here through,
quote unquote, indenture, which is slavery by another name. So this is an issue
that affects everyone from a cultural perspective. And we really wanted to
highlight an aspect of it that is seldom talked about. Tomorrow evening,
in collaboration with WaterFire Providence,
will be having a torch honoring ceremony at the Roger
Williams National Memorial, just to honor past and present
supporters of the New England Native American Culture Week. So if you happen to be in the
area, please do stop down. It’ll be from 6:30
to about 7:30– quarter to 8:00– right at
the Roger Williams National Memorial. And then, of course, how can
you do anything with Indians if you don’t have a powwow? So this Saturday and Sunday
at the Roger Williams National Memorial will be the Seventh
Annual Big Drum Powwow. It is a traditional Eastern
Wooden Algonquin style powwow. So if you been to
powwows out west you’ll recognize
certain elements of it, but the music is definitely
going to be different. You’ll be hearing a lot
of the Algonquin dialects, the regalia is going
to be different, you’re going to see more
Eastern style dress. And it’s just a
great time, smack dab in the heart of the city. And it really fees into
what we like to call, the living culture
element of this fantastic place that we call Rhode Island. That there’s so
many cultures here, that are not just in history
books, but they’re alive. You can go and see
their festivals, you can go and visit
their ceremonies. They allow you to come into
their world in that manner. And we really need
to acknowledge that for the tremendous
resource that it is, here for this state. So I think I’ve done enough
rambling at this time. It is my great pleasure
and honor– oh, and I need to acknowledge mister
Larry Wilson, from Rhode Island College, who has been
one of the coordinators for the tremendous events that
are taking place this week. Larry, being the bright and
proactive individual he, is handing out flyers, so you
can learn a little bit more about what has taken
place already this week, and what will be taking place. So, Larry, thank you, as
always, for the fantastic work you’re doing for
being here tonight. Somebody has to
keep [INAUDIBLE] on. [LAUGHTER] But it gives me great
honor and pleasure to invite up PCEI’s Chief Policy
and Advocacy Officer, and also an international Kingian
nonviolence trainer, Mr. Jonathan “Globe” Lewis. If we can have a
round of applause. [APPLAUSE] Keep that going for Mr.
Watson, he deserves y’all. Keep it going for Mr. Watson. [APPLAUSE] Good evening. Y’all are kidding me, Right [LAUGHTER] I mean for real. There are no
passive participants who achieve their
liberation or freedom. And if you’re going to
be a passive learner in this process, you
have to allow for others to represent you. And when that happens,
sometimes bad things happen. So let’s try that
again, good evening. Good evening. All right. [LAUGHS]
It sounds silly, but I do stress my greeting
every time I do a presentation, or speaking event. Because I believe if we
hope to get anything out of this moment, we have to
be willing to at least put something into our
greetings to one another. So thank you very much. Tonight we’re talking
about something that’s very, very important. And this particular
geographic location played a pretty
large role in this– this enslavement of Indians. I said enslavement,
because they’re not slaves, but folks were enslaved. We’re go– as Ray said, I am a
Kingian nonviolence trainer– international trainer. Currently I am working for the
Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Dr.
King’s organization, as their senior level
nonviolence trainer. And Ray already mentioned, I’m
the chief policy and advocacy officer for PCEI, the Providence
Cultural Equity Initiative. But we’re going to move along. And please, we’re going to
have these exquisite presenters speak about their
expertise, we’re going to be covering
pre-colonial, colonial, and current– excuse
me– contemporary issues, and what’s happening around
Indians and Native Americans. But before we go any further,
let me introduce our speakers, and then we’re going to
hear from each of them. After that, we’ll have an
open session for questions and answers, and that’s where
we hope for full participation. Pierre– I knew I was
going to mess it up. I don’t know why, forgive me. It’s a tough one. [LAUGHS] It’s Pierre Morenon. Pierre Morenon, from Rho– Morenon. Morenon, from Rhode Island
College, Taino Palermo, from Roger Williams University
in Continuing Studies, Marjorie O’Toole, is the director of
Little Compton Historical Society, and a second year
master’s student at Brown’s Public Humanities Program,
Geri Augusto, faculty at Brown, visiting professor,
international Public Affairs, and Africana Studies,
Watson Institute faculty fellow. Those will be our four
speakers for this evening. We’re going to, again,
allow for questions. But please let all the
presenters speak first, and then we’ll have as much
engagement as possible. Some will be including visuals,
so please pay full attention. The first speaker we’ll
have for this evening is Taino Palermo, from
Roger Williams University. Thank you. So as John said, my
name is Taino Palermo. I’m [INAUDIBLE] of the
[INAUDIBLE] Guaynia Clan in the Guaynia
region of Borinquen, which is known to many
today as Ponce, Puerto Rico. And what I wanted to run through
today was a very– you know, the Tainos, as a population,
exist in very few artifacts and mostly through oral history. We hosted an indigenous
peoples conference last year and had Cacique
[INAUDIBLE], who was one of the last few
predominantly full-blooded Tainos living today. He’s over 60% Taino
blood– indigenous bloods in North America. And so he’s one of–
there’s less than five– and so he’s one of
the last living ones. So it’s an honor
to continue to be able to speak on the
plight of the Taino people, who have been transformed
into what we know today as Puerto Ricans. And so, if you are Puerto
Rican, or know Puerto Ricans, they come in all
shapes and colors. And that’s because, as their
indigenous roots go, as Tainos, they were mixed with the
Spanish conquistadors and African slaves. So I’m just going to run through
a timeline for you, which is documented– which is
a cross, of a mixture, of oral history, and
documented Spanish history, which will end with an image of
a little piece of documented US history. So, as we know, when we
learn in elementary school, in 1492 when Christopher
Columbus sailed the ocean blue. He hit the Caribbean first,
what they call the West Indies, and saw indigenous people, which
gave them the name Indians. He hit Hispaniola in
that region, which is modern day Dominican
Republic and Haiti, and circled through modern
day Puerto Rico, Cuba and southern Florida. All of which is what
the Tainos inhabited. So they inhabited the
Caribbean region, as well as Southern Florida. So in 1493 was his second
voyage to the New World, where he actually
landed in Borinquen, and documented as many as
50,000 Tainos across Borinquen and Hispaniola,
as they called it, which was Dominican
Republican in Spain. So in 150– so, what
happened was, he comes back, shares all of this, and
it catches the attention of the Spanish crown, who
then commissioned Ponce de Leon to head back out there. He does and meets Cacique
of Caciques, Agueybana. And Agueybana is the Cacique of
Cacique, the chief of chiefs. And, as the story goes, he
shows them the entire wealth that they have. They don’t know
it’s wealth, they think it’s offerings for their
gods, and so– this is gold. Taino stands for
the Good People. They’re not what you
would hear of like Aztecs, or Mayans, with temples,
and sacrifice killings, and things like that. They’re not even a warrior
race to that extent. So Agueybana goes back to
Spain with Ponce de Leon, and Ponce de Leon comes
back with an armada and begins the wiping
out of the Taino Indians. So in 1501 the Spanish
crown then approves the export of slaves from
Spain to the Caribb– to the Americas– to all of
their colonies in that area. And by 1508, 1510 is when
colonization takes full flight. And so, by 1509 is when they
established repartimientos, and essentially what that
is, is indentured servitude. And it consisted of distributing
among officials and colonists fixed numbers of Indians for
wage-free and forced labor. And so the crown then instituted
something called encomienda, which is supposed to replace
repartimientos after priests were in an uproar
about the treatment of these indigenous people. So Spain, being the colonizer,
just rebranded slavery. And then by 1510–
so as the Tainos saw Spaniards coming with their
ships, and weapons, and things that they have
never seen before, they thought they
were immortals. And so Cacique Urayoan–
Cacique Urayoan and his warriors,
as the story goes, drowned San Diego, which
was a conquistador who was notorious for beating,
killing, and raping Tainos. They drowned San Diego and
watch him for seven days to make sure that
he doesn’t rise. And when he doesn’t word spreads
across all of the islands that the Spaniards
are not immortal. And an uproar begins
and Spain then begins the– a war
against Tainos. And what was once kind of
like a soft enslavement became an all out slaughter
and full enslavement, to which many Tainos fled to the
mountains or off the islands. And many died along
the way, but they also dispersed to parts of South
America and the Gulf Coast. And so by 1513
African slaves are introduced into the islands. And by 1517 King Carlos the
V authorized the importation of 4,000 slaves
to the Caribbean. So from 1520 to the 1800s there
was an ongoing slave trade that passed through the Caribbean. And as you can
imagine by this time, as they’re colonizing
the United States, it’s continuing on
through the Caribbean. If anyone saw the
movie “Amistad,” and the Fort in San
Juan, it was a major port for the slave trade. And so by 1803 all the
major global powers were starting to abolish
slavery among their colonies, the British, the
Dutch, the French. Spain, on paper, abolished its
slavery in Puerto Rico in 1873. However, I have an image during
the Spanish-American War, and the signing of
the Paris Treaty, the United States creates–
they develop a baseline census– 1899. You could actually go
to and find this census. It’s the baseline census for–
thank you– for Puerto Rico by the US, take it in
1899, that enumerates coloreds, free and
enslaved, men and women. And so, at some
point in time there was an agreement to adhere to
the abolishment of slavery, but obviously there
wasn’t at the US. As they started enumerating
individuals in Puerto Rico are now– they’re
documenting slaves there, and colored slaves. So what’s also interesting about
the 1899 census of Puerto Rico is that they also validate
the existence of aborigines. So they mention in this census
that Spain, for a long time, was boasting about the
genocide and the wiping out of the Tainos. Yet, what the census
says, is that there are captains who are scouring
the land, as they start colonizing and taking over,
and finding aborigin– this is a quote–
aborigine-looking people with wide noses, flat in
the front and back, who have to be– who must be
aborigines, and disproving the claim of Spanish census. Because Spain kept
census as well. So that was their– Spain tried
to establish the [? paper ?] genocide of aborigines by
just calling them dark slaves. And the US creating
a baseline census, references aborigines as
people in the mountains in 700 or 800 numbers. But anyone who is of
a darker complexion was either– or white– was
either white or colored. There was no acknowledgement
of aborigines, or Indians– Tainos in
particular– after that census. They then become Puerto Ricans. And so the classification
begins that way and continues to today. So that is what we know through
documentation and oral history of the enslavement
of the Tainos, who have become modern
day Puerto Ricans today. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] [MUTED CONVERSATION] Let’s thank Dr. Palermo one
more time for that analysis. [APPLAUSE] I joke sometimes with
Chief Two Hawks saying, I wish they had not
been so friendly. [LAUGHTER] I do joke. But the spirit of humanity
is extremely important. Loving another is
extremely important. And I’m grateful for
that because that’s the only thing that can help
us heal through these unspoken stories of difficult times. Thank you again,
[? Dr. Palermo. ?] Thank you. The next speaker
we’re going to have is Marjorie O’Toole,
who’s is going to share with us about slavery. [INTERPOSING VOICES] [APPLAUSE] I don’t have any slides, and
I wonder if the media person– or if we have any control over
the light– if that can go off. Thank you. You’re welcome. Now I can see you. My name is Marjorie O’Toole. I’m the director of the Little
Compton Historical Society. I’ve done that job for about
10 and a half years now, and I love it. I am also a second year student
in Brown’s Public Humanities Program for my master’s
degree, but I go part time, so although I’m a
second year student, I’ve been doing
it for six years. And I have another
year and a half to go. So I’ve been here for a very
long time, learning as I go. And what I’ve
learned here at Brown has helped me put a spin on
my work in Little Compton, that I think has really
helped me to move closer to academic standards. So the local history
that we write is more accurate,
better researched, and I think, better
source information for academics who may want
to use it for their own work. Several years ago I took a
class on slavery in the Atlantic world with Lynn Fisher,
who’s here tonight, and I had to write a
20-page research paper. So I said, hey, I think
in one of our books in Little Compton one
of the old historians has a list of enslaved people. And I went and found the list. And there it was. And it’s a list of Negroes
and Indians in Little Compton, and there were 44
people on the list. I said, this is great. I’ll write about
these 44 people. That’ll be my
20-page page paper. It’ll be awesome. And I– and there were a
couple of typos, and so I said, I better check this. And when I checked I realized
that they weren’t just typos, they were these really
kind of hideous omissions in the historic record. And that if I
looked hard enough I could find more, and more,
and more, and more people. So instead of a list of
44 Negroes and Indians, I have a database of
200 enslaved people, who lived in Little Compton
between 1674 and 1817. And they were African, and
they were Native American, and they were mixed race. And by mixed race they were
African Indian, African white, Indian white. And then– so I wrote my paper. And poor Dr. Fisher had to read
a 60-page paper, instead of a 20-page paper, because
I was going crazy with all this information. And then I went to
my board and I said, I really think we need to do
an exhibit, and maybe a book, on slavery in Little Compton. And that’s a hard thing because
some of our biggest funders are the descendants
of slaves owners. And I was so proud of
my board because almost without any discussion at all
they said, that’s a great idea, let’s do it. And so that was
scheduled for this year. So this year at the Little
Compton Historical Society we have a 300-page book that
started as a 20-page term paper. And we have a very–
it’s a small exhibit, but it is a very nice exhibit on
the stories of enslaved people in Little Compton. And that exhibit is
up through February, so I hope you’ll
all come see it. And we welcome groups,
if you have a group that might like to come see it. And we have a lecture series,
and we have public programs, and we’re going
to do a monument. And it’s a whole year
devoted to enslaved people– the enslaved people of Little
Compton– who we didn’t really remember existed. And as we’re getting
really kind of close to the end of
putting all of this together– this is
2016– you know, you check through your notes
and things don’t always hit you the first time you see them. So I was maybe six weeks
away from sending this off to the publisher, and I
was like, you know what? 2016– the last enslaved
woman in Little Compton received her freedom in 1816. That’s our 200th anniversary
of freedom in Little Compton. And I have shivers
when I say it, and I had shivers
when I realized that. That’s like, OK, well, I know
what day her master died, so I know– I thought I
knew what day she was freed. And then I called a lawyer–
two lawyers– and I said, so, in your will, does it go into
effect the day the person dies, or does it go into
effect the day that it goes through probate? And they both said, oh, probate. OK, so I know what day
it went through probate. So I know that August 5, 1816
was the last day that someone was enslaved in Little Compton. And I know that with
confidence because it winds up with the census records,
and so forth, and so on. So by accident we
scheduled our year exploring slavery on
the 200th anniversary of freedom in the town. And some– I don’t
want to get too goofy– but I think sometimes there
have been powers greater than I moving me
through this project. Because sometimes
things have just worked out better than you’d
expect them to work out. So what we have are the personal
stories of the enslaved. I’d really, really like the
history of ordinary people, I think that helps us
understand the world so much better than the history
of famous people, or the history of elites. So one of the most
important things to know is that I’ve lived in
Little Compton all my life. That’s probably the most
important thing about me, which is very strange, but– You’ve all heard of
English exceptionalism? Come to Little Compton, right? We are the greatest
place on Earth. I’m sorry if you
don’t believe that. We are. [LAUGHS] So we’re kind of
super exceptionalists. So when I was eight
years old we celebrated our 300th anniversary, and I
got to ride on the Brownies– on the Girl Scout float–
and it was awesome. And everybody in town, every kid
in town, got a coloring book. And there was a big
picture of Benjamin Church, because he’s our founder, and
we’re supposed to love him. And there’s a big
picture of a Awashonks. Then I colored them both, and
are supposed to love them both, they’re both our famous people. And, for probably
the next 30 years, I mean, give or take, because I
do run the historical society. Those were the two
most important people in Little Compton,
Benjamin Church and Awashonks, that’s it. So now as we learn
more and more– now we know the stories of
ordinary English people, and we know the stories of 20
or 30 Sakonnet people, not just Awashonks and now
we can really start to understand their history. So this was going to
be a book on slavery. Dr. Fisher convinced
me that it had to be Native American and
African American slavery at the same time. It just makes sense. As I’m doing my work, my
research, it can’t just be about slavery anymore, it
has to be about indentured, too, because they’re
so tied together. And then, a few
months down the line, I realized I had to add a
third section on freedom, because the story
of enslaved people doesn’t necessarily end
with their enslavement. People do gain their freedom. They live, sometimes, most of
their lives as free people. So let’s talk about them as a
newly emancipated people, too, and what happens to
their descendants. So this grew, and grew, and
grow over the last few months, the last year or so. There are probably 50 people’s
lives explored and explained in here using primary
source documents. And I think it’s a great
way to try and understand the institution of slavery
through these personal stories. As I learn about these people
the more difficult, sort of academic concepts,
start to make sense, and it just all fits. So because I work
for a nonprofit I get to blatantly push people
to purchase things like this. So please buy this
book and learn about the lives of enslaved
people in Little Compton. But I want to talk about– just
mention two other books, as well– actually three
others, as well. About six years ago,
as an organization, we really started to look beyond
Benjamin Church and Awashonks, to tell the story of
the Sakonnet people. This is a beautiful
little book, it’s almost like a coffee table book. But for the first time in
Little Compton local history, we talk about Mamanua, who
was a Awashonks’ stepson. It was a divided tribe,
they fought with each other all the time, they fought
with each other over land. The English were playing
one against the other, they were attacking each other. The English didn’t really
like working with women, so they pushed the
Awashonks out of the way, and dealt with Mamanua instead. Nobody knew that, Mamanua
is not in the coloring book. You know, where was his story? And so a woman
other than I, Janet [? Lyle, ?] discovered his
story and presented it here. And then– and I wish I’d
read this before I finished writing my book– but
Margaret Ellen Newell has a relatively new book, a year
old I think, on Indian slavery. Everybody in this room
should read this book. It leaves you without
a doubt that the Pequot were in King Philip’s
war, centered on slavery, centered
on the desire to enslaved native people. And then the next book
is not yet written. But [? Linford ?] Fisher’s book
will be coming out shortly, and he’ll deal with
African American slavery and Native American
slavery at the same time. And I’m looking forward
to that very much. But in the open question
portion, what I hope to do is, maybe, share some of the
stories of individuals. Because each person that I
encountered in the research taught me something about
the institution of slavery. And this– and about
the local nature of the institution, how it
will change from location to location. [APPLAUSE] Thank you very
much, Ms. O’Toole. I would love to read
that, and to find out the daily stories of folks. Because it’s so important
to have these conversations, to truly get to know
the people, and not just the statistics when we talk
about the ships coming over. Or we talk about those that
were here in grandiose numbers, and we lose the humanity
in that sometimes. So thank you very much
for work that you produce, I think it’s very important
for society as a whole. Thank you. All right my friends, let’s
shake– I was going to say, let’s shake it up, because
I like to shake it up at events I go to. It’s something that we do
in nonviolence training, but let’s clap one
more time, y’all. [APPLAUSE] Geri Augusto, professor
here at Brown University. I think– [INTERPOSING VOICES] [APPLAUSE] That’s [INAUDIBLE]. [SIDE CONVERSATION] I learned two things
from my elders, both here and in Africa, that
are very important to me. And so I want to begin my
remarks with those two things. The first thing is
that whenever you are standing on soil,
where the bones of others may be buried deep
down below, you begin everything with
the salutation of respect to them, even if they
are unseen, or unknown, or unrecognized. So I want to do that first. And secondly, and this
is from my grandmother, she always told me, a little
knowledge is a dangerous thing. In the matter of tonight what
I have is a little knowledge. There are numerous scholars,
some of them my colleagues here at Brown, who are making
the study of Indian slavery one of the focuses of their work. More importantly, they are
historians of the nations and of the communities of
Native Americans and others in this region who
know far more than I do about the history
of Indian slavery. So my task is to try
not to be dangerous, in honor of my grandmother,
yet add something useful to the collective
pot, so that we can have a good discussion. I’m going to do that by
focusing on a few thoughts around the question of
Indian slavery, which have come up in my own work. That work is not so
much about slavery as it is about the
kinds of interactions, usually contested,
and in conditions of violence and duress. But also which occasion
[? exchange ?] of knowledge, which took place between
indigenous people, enslaved Africans, and
colonizing Europeans in the Americas and
in southern Africa. In the interest of time I
want to do this by images. I hope that this setup works. If not you’re going to have
to imagine what I’m saying. And I’ll give the
briefest of remarks about three historical spaces
on which my thoughts have been focused over the past decade. And we might be able to
return to some of them later or on another occasion. The first set is going
to be about Dutch Brazil in the early 17th
century sugar plantations. The second set is from New
England to the Caribbean. And the third set
is Long Island– from Long Island to Providence,
and the Harlem Renaissance. I will see if this
actually works. Yeah, OK. Except that’s not the right one. [LAUGHTER] It’s OK. These are just covers of the
kinds of natural histories, in other words, the
colonial archive that I spent a lot of time looking at. So you get very old histories
of the first European natural historian who goes to Barbados,
or to Jamaica, or to Brazil, or to Haiti. A lot of these are
actually held in– here, original copies in the
John Carter Brown Library. I want to spend a moment on
this one, which is from Brazil. This is actually the first
natural history of Brazil. You can see the European
imagined nation working, and how they see the Native
Americans, or the Tupinamba people, as they call
themselves in Brazil. And the interesting thing about
this old first natural history of Brazil for me
is that, I’m always thinking about the
knowledge of plants in that– so the knowledge that
African, enslaved Africans, and, in this case in Brazil,
the enslaved Tupinamba. Because everywhere
in Latin America, it’s first the Native
Americans who were enslaved. And then when that doesn’t
work in some kind of way, Africans are brought in. So the reason why this
book is important, done by Willem Piso
and George Marcgrave, is that it was done in the
time when the Dutch briefly held Brazil. Now we know Brazil is
a Portuguese colony, but in the 1640s the
Dutch were holding Brazil. And the governor, Count
Maurice of Nassau, thought it important to
do scientific studies. So he brings over Willem Piso
to look at questions of plants, and the knowledge about plants. And in this time we remember
that the knowledge about plants is like knowing where gold,
and diamonds, and oil are later on in history. So Piso does this book. And what do you
find when you see the book is that the Tupinamba
and the enslaved Africans are there on these early sugar
plantations at the same time. And they’re exchanging
knowledge with each other. Most of the book is about what
he calls the simples, which are the medicinal plants,
the herbal medicines of the Tupinamba. But occasionally
you find a page, like this one
that’s shown there, where he reports that
the Africans are teaching the Indians how– or
the indigenous people– how to use particular plants. And so you begin to get
a notion of the plants that the Africans
managed to bring over, or they were brought
over in the slave ship, like sesame, eggplant, and okra. And you are so get a sense of
how the Tupinamba are teaching the enslaved Africans about some
very important plants, usually maize, but also cassava, which
is the bread of the Caribbean. It’s the bread of
the Tainos, it’s the bread of the Brazilians. The terms that were being used
by the Portuguese and the Dutch at this time are
also interesting. They call the Tupinamba
in the beginning when the enslaved them, negros de
terra, the blacks of this land. And the ones who were
coming in from Guinea and from Angola, and
thus the first set, they are negros de Guine,
and negros de Angola. It’s an interesting use of the
notion of color and slavery. And the picture on the
lower right, what you see is, it looks like you’re
trying to depict Africans, but actually this is an
early depiction of Tupinamba who were enslaved, and who are
put to producing the bread, this bread called casabe,
or cassava, depends on which part of the Caribbean
or Latin America you’re in. And these were first
enslaved Tupinamba, who have to produce this bread. So for me this is an interesting
evidence of, not just the enslavement, joint
enslavement side by side, of Native Americans
and enslaved Africans, but also the knowledge
the exchange, and the knowledge and
the wealth of knowledge, that they bring
to the colonizers. This picture is a picture
in Africa of Angola, the city of Luanda, and at the
same time that the Dutch are holding this part,
this tip of Brazil, as part of their empire,
they’re also briefly in charge, or colonizing, the
Angola kingdom. They never get quite to
colonize the Congo kingdom, but the Angola
kingdom in Luanda. This is the oldest
fort, one of the oldest forts on the coast
of Africa, it’s San Miguel de Luanda,
built in 1576. And the interesting thing is
that, when the Dutch– built by the Portuguese– when the
Dutch take Luanda briefly in the 1640s, they bring over
Tupinamba masons, stone masons, sailors on the boats, and
some of those Tupinamba escape all together. They melt into the kingdoms,
within the kingdoms of Congo and Ndongo. So one interesting
research question for me is, sort of like
the disappeared Taino, where these people go? And what we’re
thinking about them teach us about slavery and
relations among Africans and Native Americans,
with respect to slavery, and not just slavery. This is a picture with which
I’m sure it depicts things that most people in this
region would be familiar with, which is the Massacre of the
Pequot in 1937 in Connecticut. This is one of the beginnings
of a massive deportation of Native American people from
New England to the Caribbean. So it then posits
another question, where did these people go? They go to– everywhere
in the Caribbean. They go to the Bahamas,
they go to Barbados, they go to Jamaica. So when I was a child,
probably like many of you, who are at least my age or
older, we were always taught the Indians,
the Native Americans, are largely disappeared. I have there a quote from
Herman Melville, the book that we all had
to read in school, Moby Dick, where he says–
you know the name of the boat, the ship is the
Pequod, first of all. And we don’t even know
why it’s the Pequod when are we reading it. But he says, “you
will no doubt remember the Pequot was the name
of a celebrated tribe of Massachusetts Indians, now
extinct as the ancient Medes.” So he’s writing this in 1851
but these supposedly extinct people, many of them are not
just still here in New England, but are also in the Caribbean. And in fact, one
of the things that was most astonishing
to me in trying to do the research of black
people and Native American side by side in this
question of slavery, is the intra
American slave trade that went on in the Caribbean. A waterborne traffic, they
didn’t cross the Atlantic, but was going around
in the Caribbean, was a very, very
large flow of slavery. The estimate now is that
over a period of 400 years, more than 2.5 million
Native persons, many of them from
New England, were in slavery in the Caribbean. This is besides the
Taino who lived there, this is another set. And this is salt water
trade expelled them all over the Caribbean, to
Little Bonaire and Curacao, to the many small Lucayas, to
Hispaniola, and to Puerto Rico. In fact, one study
done by Resendez, which is called
“The Other Slavery,” is that in the period
between 1670 and 1720, from the Carolinas, South
Carolina particular, more Indians were exported out
of Charleston, South Carolina that Africans were imported
into Charleston, South Carolina. So one of the chief
things that I’ve been doing in trying
to do research about botanical knowledge
in the Caribbean, is looking at this
question of black people and Native Americans,
or enslaved Africans and enslaved Native
Americans, living side by side during a period
when we were told, at least when I was in school,
that all these people had disappeared. So you get for example,
the famous work by Hans Sloane in Jamaica,
and if you read the archive, if you read the original,
which many of these originals are in Brown’s JCB
Library, you get this understanding that these
supposedly disappeared Indians and these are slave Africans,
are actually living side by side for quite
some time in many of the Caribbean countries. This is a quote
just from Jamaica, from the Natural
History of Jamaica, done by one Han Sloane, in which
he talks over and over again about the Indians
and the Negros, the Indians and the Negros,
even Indian and Negro doctors, and the diseases that they
were able to cure using plants that were natural to Jamaica. And deep inside the book,
the Hans Sloane book, is an account of
a Lucaya, which is the other name for the Bahamas,
a Lucaya couple enslaved in Hispaniola and how
they try to get away, and then they’re
returned to slavery. So you have to ask
yourself, we are already in school about how Native
Americans disappeared in the United
States, supposedly, how they disappeared, as
well in the Caribbean. But they show up
over and over again in these natural histories. So one of the things
that also shows up in these old colonial
histories is a question of Native American revolt,
enslaved African revolt, and how afraid the
colonists, up and down the east coast and down into the
Caribbean, were of this revolt. So in 1502 you get one of
the earliest ones, where the Spanish governor
of Hispaniola asked the King of
Spain– essentially he just says, please
don’t send me any more of these African slaves. Let’s have a moratorium. Because they run away to
the mountains of Hispaniola, which today is Haiti and
the Dominican Republic, and they don’t come back. And furthermore, they pair up
with the Native Americans, who are the Taino who
are fleeing, and we don’t know what’s going
on up in the mountains, but it’s dangerous, so let’s
just have a moratorium. You move to 1676, and
this is from a study done by Professor Linford. Yeah, where are you? I think he’s here somewhere. Exactly– one of his
early studies– because he continues to do this work. “Dangerous Designs:
the 1676 Barbados Act to Prohibit New England
Indian Slave Importation.” They were by now
very, very afraid of these Native Americans
who had revolted, and who almost won the
war in this region. And so several thousands
of them are deported. And the governor
down in Barbados says that he really doesn’t
want any more of these. Many of them are
already there, but he says he really doesn’t
want any more of these because it’s like a
contagion to have them. These Native American
uprisings that are taking place in Virginia, and
Maryland, and New York. And now these people are
deported or sold down into the Caribbean
and causing trouble. This happens over and over
again in the Caribbean. The quote at the bottom is
from a famous Caribbean poet and historian, Kamau Brathwaite. And he writes a poem
about– just part of it, is about the Maroon
coast in Barbados, which many people
think, oh, there weren’t any Native
Americans left there. And he writes about
the ones that got away. The ones that found a
settlement somewhere on the coast, which they call
the Maroon coast of Barbados. And he talks about
how they got away, and how important it is that
they found their freedom. Something’s wrong. Yes. So the reason why this
is called “Native Revolt, Black Revolt and
Colonial Fears,” is that, this question of
Native Americans and not yet African Americans,
but enslaved Africans, joining together
in possible revolt. It was one of the biggest
fears of colonial times. Finally, I want to talk briefly
about– how should I call this? By then this is a question
of cultural resistance, is basically what we’re left
with in the New England area. And this woman, usually
you get to see histories about– what’s the name? [INAUDIBLE], yes. So I thought I would use a
woman instead of [INAUDIBLE] because he’s fairly well known. This lady is called
Olivia Ward Bush, and she was both Native
American and African American. And she writes a very famous
poem– at least famous in the time in 1898 in
Newport– called “Driftwood.” And although it’s a
fairly sad seeming poem, it’s actually a poem
about resistance. It’s actually a
poem about the fact that, like driftwood,
the Native Americans, who by then are very much mixed
in this area of New England with African Americans,
still manage to endure. And in the final part she
says that with their lives some poor misshapen
remnant still survives of what was once
a fair and beauteous form. And yet some dwelling
may be more bright, someone afar may
catch a gleam of light after the fury of
the blinding storm. This poem is actually
a poem about resilience of Native Americans in
this New England region. So I want to close with that. I actually had closed
with something else, but I didn’t bring
it with me, which is a weaving, a carving, that
the Narragansett have kept for a long time–
a weaving, which is about the dispersal
of the Narragansett through the Caribbean. Because I think that also
speaks to a kind of history that we want to understand more. So in conclusion,
I want to close with what I hope that some
of what I’ve sketched tonight leads us to think about. The kinds of projects where
the historians of the nations and communities, the colonial
archives and a re-reading, not just of the secrets
buried in the soil, but the wisdom inserted
in poems and songs, in weavings and
carvings, might bring us a greater understanding of
the historical phenomenal of Indian slavery
in the Americas. I want to suggest that
this could lead us, not just to new
histories, of what my friends on the
[? Bahian ?] coast of Brazil call, the people of the waters. But new words on the
nature of rebellion and revolts for freedom and for
sovereignty in the Americas, from the eastern woodlands,
to Barbados, and Brazil. And a different kind of
critical triangulation of our knowledge about slavery
in this old world– it’s not a new world– in this
old world and the Americas. I think Brown, with
its new Native American and Indigenous
Studies Initiative could be becoming a good
place to try that out. [APPLAUSE] [BACKGROUND CONVERSATION] Come on down. Let’s please give
it up one more time. That was fascinating,
absolutely fascinating. [APPLAUSE] And the idea that
story is not being told of Natives being
shipped elsewhere. I’m surprised Hollywood
hasn’t told that story. Or am I surprised? But thank you very
much for that. I want to do the slideshow here. [SIDE CONVERSATION] All right. I’m not going to touch,
it see what happens. You know, it’s odd that I’m
going to be talking about some of these topics as they have
extended into the 20th century. I teach in the anthropology
department at Rhode Island College, but I’m
an archaeologist. So it’s interesting that
the archaeologist ends up talking about the 20th century. And it’s not ironic
because we are using sort of the
techniques of archeology to explore the
treatment of children who were incarcerated
at a state institution right here in Rhode Island. So it’s an interesting
process to think about how we might be
able to look at more recent problems and issues. When I first came to Rhode
Island back in 1978– I want to tell a few stories–
I had been working out west. I’d been working in New Mexico,
done quite a bit of work with people who
are of historically Taos Indians, and Picuris,
and Mescalero, and Dene. And I’d been raised in New
England, but I spent a decade or so working out west. And so in 1978 I came
to Rhode Island College to run a contract program
to do applied archeology in Rhode Island. And one of the
first things I heard was that there aren’t
any Indians here. I mean why would you
want to come here? And that was news
to me, you know. When I was seven years old
my mother took me to a powwow in Mashpee, and I saw
a lots of Indians. And here I was being told that
there were no Indians here. Now, who told me that? Well, of course,
state officials did. There was a pa– I don’t really
want to use names because that could be offensive. But I remember reading in
the newspaper, the Providence Journal, that the
head of the [? DOT ?] had been chastised
because he had reported there were no
Indians, and publicly shamed. And also when I met with
scholars, with academics, with anthropologists,
and historians, here in Rhode Island, I was told
that there aren’t any Indians. Now you imagine, I’m a young
guy, and I proceeded to work. Of course the
federal laws changed and the Narragansett
Tribe was recognized by the federal
government in the 1980s, and that sort of transformed
things, I think, quite a bit. But the reason I’m
saying this is, there is this incredible
legacy of denial that exists in this state. And if you’ve lived
here for– and I discovered when I walked in
the door, and I have seen it, you know. So when I was asked to talk
about these sorts of things that I’m doing, I feel
quite nervous doing this because I’m never
quite sure how people are going to use the information
that we are in fact projecting. Even the topic of
talking about slavery, black, white, Indian
relationships, is a very, I think, tender
topic for many people, including Native Americans. Last year, for example, when
we showed– remember Larry, we showed that film
on black Indians? Yes. Who did not come? Who did not come? Many members of tribal
people did not come. It’s a very difficult subject. So I think it’s very nice
for us to talk in this way, academically and so forth,
but it is never quite clear to be how people
are going to receive what we’re talking
about, and how they are going to understand it. I remember I worked
as a volunteer. I was working at the Rhode
Island Indian Council. I had brought a
group of students from Rhode Island
College, and we were going into the Rhode
Island Indian Council, and we were working
with young children. We had an after school program,
and we were helping young kids down at Broad Street, who were
Native American in an after school program. We’re helping them with
their reading and writing and so forth. And I loved the
program, it was great. I loved the kids. And I was doing a
lot of video work back there, so I took
some video tapes. And I brought that
videotape to a conference held right here at Brown. It was a conference
talking about Indians, and what was going
on in the 1990s. Showed that videotape of
Native American children in an urban context,
doing things that were not very traditionally Indian. They were doing
the kinds of things that kids do in urban areas. And I have to say
all hell broke loose. People came up to
me and said, you can’t show those images, you
can’t talk about that stuff, because it was embarrassing. Again, when people are
confronting this problem of, who am I? And you’ve lived in a
state where maybe you’ve been told that you don’t
look like an Indian, it’s very difficult. So I’m just letting
you know that I feel uncomfortable
doing this, but I’m going to proceed anyway. So much of my work has been
with ancient antiquity, working with tribal people here in
Rhode Island since 1978. Working with members
of Narragansett tribe on projects, and so forth. We’ve even done a
couple of projects on tribal land, very
interesting projects. Then in 2001, I got a call from
a fellow at the [? DCYF, ?] and he said, you know, there’s
this really interesting institution called the
State Home and School, and I think, maybe you
should go and look at it. This is a state institution
that– and I think maybe I will move ahead with
some slides here if I can, so which should I push? Just this one here? All right. I don’t know if you know this,
this is a so wonderful graphic. This is a metropolitan
plan 1906. You know, Providence was
one of the wealthiest cities in the United
States in 1906, and some of the stuff that
was going on was unbelievable. They had a green, sort
of, a plan for Providence, with roads, and
parks, and– boy, I wish they’d implemented that. Province would be quite
a beautiful place. But I’ve circled up in the
corner there, the State Home and School for Dependent
and Neglected Children. And of course
Brown is over here, so it’s not very far away. And that’s the
place and the spot that I have been interested in. Just to put it in perspective, a
lot was going on in Providence, and a lot was going on in
Rhode Island in the late 1800s. The Progressive Era was
just an amazing thing. Not only did they
create institutions for children, but also jails,
and all kinds of things. This is a very,
very, booming sort of economy with institutions
about very, very progressive in their thinking. And I suppose you know what was
also happening in the 1890s, right? 1890? This is when the Narragansett
Tribe was detribalized. If you look carefully at the
papers that are published– state records– and
look at what was discussed when the Narragansett
Tribe was detribalized. The people of South Kingston
were very concerned. If the tribe is
detribalized what is going to happen to all
the old folks and children? And of course the state
came back and said, oh, don’t worry we’ll take care. And you can see all
of these institutions came into play, right. It is, of course, coincidence
that we’re talking about here. But the logic is inescapable
that these institutions took on the role of
caring for people in all kinds of situations. But the Narragansetts
and tribal people now [? had ?] the state,
and the state institutions, to play with. Now here’s the odd coincidence,
this is an old photograph, but this is Rhode
Island College. I’ve highlighted where the
Anthropology Department used to be, and that’s where the
State Home and School is. So in 2001, when this
guy came to me, and said, would you– do you know
anything about the State Home and School? I said, no I don’t
know anything about it. And he said, well,
it’s [INAUDIBLE]. And that was quite a shock. And so we started working there. Let me see if I can give
you some perspectives. So this is a photograph of the
beginning of the State Home and School in 1885. And it’s on a hill right next
to a building at Rhode Island College, which anyone
at Rhode Island College knows, the Kauffman Center
is right next to it, but that was built much later. You can go and stand on that
hill today right by those rocks and look out and see
those same buildings. Here’s another
perspective, where that triangle, that
pointed area here is, that’s where the rocks
are, that perspective. But this is what
this institution looked like in 1908. So it grew. And here’s the first image of
children I want to show you. So what kind of children came
into the State Home and School? Not very many
immigrant children. Children who were
Catholic tended to go into Catholic
institutions. Over the period
between 1935 and 1980, for example, there were
over 60 institutions that dealt with
children who were held in custody– just lots
and lots of institutions. The State Home and School
was the state-funded one, it was the largest one,
most money, most staff. This is just Mrs.
Armstrong’s class and you can see that there are
people of color here, right? Some of those are
Native American. I can guarantee you that. I don’t know the
names of any of them, but I can guarantee you
that some of them are. So this is what it
looked like in the 1950s, and you can sort of see
that this is when they’re adding brick buildings and so. If you go to the campus today,
those red-colored buildings, those are the ones
that are standing. All the wooden ones, which
date back into the 1800s, those have gone, except for one. There is one remains. And we have save that. So every year a few
hundred children went through this institution. Some of them stayed just
for a few days some stayed throughout their childhood. It’s a highly varied thing. Over the course of a century
well over 10,000 children went through this institution. It was big. If you think about 10,000
children, with siblings, with brothers,
you know, sisters, with family members,
with cousins, with uncles, people
getting married, people living in communities,
people going to church, and so forth. When you think about how many
human beings in Rhode Island have been involved with
this institution somewhat, it’s really quite large. So when we talk about
invisibility– the invisibility that I’m focusing on
here is the invisibility of children held in custody. And they happen to be
people of color, white, all sorts of backgrounds, and
of course, Native Americans. So I’ll just show you
a few slides of them, here’s some of these– these
are quotes out of the Province Journal. One of the things that’s very
nice about state institutions is that there are hundreds
of newspaper articles on it. All have been inventoried. Very nice sort of visual record. This is kind of– I put
this in for shock– “Two Babies Die of Food Poisoning,
Doctors Probe State Home Epidemic.” Now one of things we’ve done,
in addition to the archeology, is looking at how
children play, and what they do at this
institution, we’ve worked with former residents. Because this institution
lasted until 1979. My first taste was in 2002
when I started talking about this project in a class. A young woman raised
her hand and she said, my mother was there. Her grandmother was there. And of course she
was Native American. We found her, and we found her
relatives, we found her records and so forth. So we have periodically
held reunions. And some of these people
that are depicted here, have self-identified
as Native American. Again, my assumption
is between 5% and 10% of the people going
through this institution may have been Native American. So that’s a sizable percentage. We don’t talk about boarding
school in Rhode Island but we should talk about
state institutions that have the same effect. Oops, I just blew it. I blew it. That’s what I’m trying to
do, but it didn’t do it. Oh, it was such a nice slide. Maybe we– can we
go [INAUDIBLE]. There we go. Some people actually can
go home, which is nice. So the undocumented in this
case, of course, are children. And the effects of an
institution like this are quite profound. I think that, you know,
as an archaeologist I have to say that, we don’t have much
history-studying institutions, we don’t have much
history-studying state institutions. We have a very short history
of studying children. Looking at issues
of incarceration is not part of what
we typically do. But we’re working away
and we, and as I said, we’ve interviewed
about 80 people, several hour-long interviews. These have all been
transcribed in our archive. So we have quite a good
database of information. And we continue to work
with these people as we can. So thank you. [APPLAUSE] Please keep it going. Let us thank our
presenters, y’all. Please keep it going. [APPLAUSE] OK, my friends. [INAUDIBLE] Right now we’d like to come
to our question and answer component to our session. We have microphones
on either side. So if there are any folks in the
crowd that have any questions, please come on down,
and we will get to you as a first-come first-served. But I had a couple
questions, if I could ask our panelists,
to start us off, if that’s all right? Dr. Palermo, do you mind? No. What has it meant to you to
learn about your traditions? And, have the Taino
people disappeared? And what are they doing now? Well, I’m a little– I’m
kind of an exception. My parents wanted to never
forget my Taino roots by naming me Taino. [LAUGHTER] My sisters have Taino names. My middle sister,
her name is Guanina, which is a play on the Guaynia
region, by which we come from. My middle sistes– my oldest
sister’s middle name is [? Sorey, ?] which is one of
the [? Cacican’s ?] daughters, she’s a princess. So I was always aware of
the existence of Taino. I grew up in American public
schools, so I kind of just ate what was fed to me
about Native Americans, about Christopher Columbus. I found out later on in life
that Christopher Columbus was a large part of why I
didn’t know about people. And then, being a Puerto
Rican from the Bronx, it was of no surprise that
there was black in my blood, African in my blood. Puerto Ricans and
blacks in New York City are like one and the same. So that was of no shock to me. I think learning about the real
breakdown of the conquistador, the Taino, and the African
slave, and the trifecta that makes up a modern
day Puerto Rican, was it was an eye opener to me. I think what really blew my
mind was really understanding oral history, documented
history, how would pertains to classification and identity. And so, you know, I’ve always
known myself as a Puerto Rican, but what does that mean? Puerto Rico isn’t a country,
we don’t govern ourselves. And there was a
really great article about why is Puerto Rico
marching in the Olympics? Why aren’t they marching
with the United States? So there’s an identity
crisis among Puerto Ricans, which is very closely tied to
the economic crisis in Puerto Rico. And so all of that
is the manifestation of a genocide through
paper genocide, oral genocide, and
literal killing genocide. And so, no, we are not dead. [LAUGHS] We exist. We are– our blood has been
diluted, or diversified depending on who you ask. But we are very alive,
and we are very populous. Many of us just don’t know it. Thank you very much, Doctor. Oh, sir, do you have a question? Yeah, I’m calling
on a friend of mine. [LAUGHTER] Could you come on down to
the microphone there, sir? Well, I guess my question
would be for Professor Geri. Augusto. My apologies. As far as the importation
of African slaves, and then you said there was the
exportation of American slaves here in New England, as
well as in South Carolina. I’m just curious
as to what was– or how did they classify
these individuals when they moved them from
here to other locals? Did they still
call them Indians, or they classify them
as just a colored race? I’m probably not the best
person to answer that question, but I’ll give a general
discussion of classification, and then people can correct me. In the early records you
see people classified by the names of
their nations, and I mean Native American nations. As time goes on you begin to see
them classified as things like, mustees. And after a while,
you begin to see those who have– who are mixed
African and Native American, get progressively classified
out of the Native American part of their heritage. You begin to get a– you
get a loss of people’s names from the nations
from which they come, and they get
classified as Indian. And you get a
progressive moving out of people who are part,
Native American part, African American, into African American. So in the time that
I was talking about, which is kind of an
earlier colonial period, some of those names still
would have been used, but when they get
to the Caribbean is when they really
get lost into just being called the Indians. Because these are exported
from the United States because of the rebellions
and the revolts, and sold into the Caribbean,
where they practically disappeared in
some of the places that they were expelled to. And that’s a different
case from the Taino, who always lived there. This is where they were from. But the ones who were expelled
from the United States, parts of the coast
down, and they gradually kind of disappeared
into the population, intermarrying with
enslaved Africans, primarily, in the
case of the Caribbean. Yes, sir. Would you mind stating your
name and your question, please. Mr. Too Cool, with
the glasses on inside. [LAUGHTER] OK. Good evening, I am [INAUDIBLE],
represent of the [INAUDIBLE]. We are a tribal trust
nation for Taino people and for the betterment
of their condition. My question had to do
with, specifically, some of the– well, is
pertaining to Dr. Augusto. Some of the documents that I saw
gave that impression in terms of what you were saying there. I’m familiar with what was
called the castas de naciones, which is the nation casts. I saw there that there
was, like you were saying, los negros de– kind of– Negros de terra. Yeah, the different
kinds, right. Did you– I had a
question about that, but I’m trying to figure
out how to frame it. Because it seems to me
that the basis of the slave trade to the new world, or
within the new world initially, had to do with nations, and
what those nations skill sets, or what they were prized
for physical attributes, or whatever it was. Eventually over
time, I understand that in the Caribbean it turned
into many different casts that had many different
interesting names, whether you call mulatto, Criollo, whatever,
all these different things. I kind of had a
question, and I don’t know if you came across this
in your research at all. Because there was
so much exporting of people within the Turtle
Island– the Americas. Were there, at times,
ways in those records that did not match with some
of the names, for example? Because what I’ve– my theory
has kind of been that they just– within the slave trade,
they would falsify records, falsify the names of people,
or where they perceived them to come from, and then that’s
how kind of a paper genocide goes in terms with
some of the names. What did you come across
that was similar to that? I think you have
the clue when you say that the names are beginning
to be made up and falsified. In the case of African,
enslaved Africans, a lot of times
the classification comes out of the port by which
they left Africa and come to the New World. It doesn’t mean that those
people are necessarily from that area. They could be in the
general hinterland, and then get that name and come. In the case of Native
Americans is different. The one that I
showed for Brazil– remember this is
very early Brazil, this is like early 1600s. Brazil is founded as
a colony in the 1500s. And this expression, Negros
de terra, blacks of this land, is something that the
Portuguese made up. The names of the
people who lived in the area are, on
the coast, especially, were Tupi, Tupinamba, and
others as you go further into the Brazilian interior. Bur all long the coast,
those people were Tupi. So to call them
Negros de terra is something that the
Portuguese, or let’s say the Spanish and
the Portuguese, are beginning to do a
classification as they wish to classify people. So they’re classifying them
as blacks of this land. And then the ones
who are coming, being brought in slightly
later from Africa, are classified as blacks from
Guinea, or blacks from Angola. Those would be the two
earliest for this place. But you are right,
these– your implication is that these names
are mixed up, made up, and in time replaced the
actual names that the people called themselves. Thank you. Why does that matter? Why does the changing
of one’s name matter? I guess I’ll throw that
to anybody in the room. Because I think it’s
important for us to continue exploring that a
little bit, if it all possible. I’m sorry? It matters for the
descendants who are trying to make
those connections between their
ancestors [INAUDIBLE]. I think it matters
because individuals have [? names, ?] you know. The names are tied to
lineages to tribes– to tribes– oh, OK, all right. So, individuals
have names, names are tied to lands, which
are tied to tribes, or lineages, which
denote at, many times a chronological history. Whether it’s an oral
history tied to a name that’s tied to a land,
which allows individuals to tie themselves in nations,
which allows individuals to make claims. Those claims, whether they
be on land or resources, equal self-sustainability. And without
self-sustainability there is no survival to a people,
a culture, or a way of life. Thank you. And we had another
comment back there. Yeah, I just wanted
to reiterate that it’s an attempt to steal identity. If you change the historic
and traditional identity of a person, and
their descendants will become confused and
not know who they are, it’s a way of
amalgamating everyone into this pool of America. Sure. Many people of
different identities, who are now just Americans. So you lose who you really are. And one of the things that
was done in the South, that I know of, but probably
throughout America, there were state officials
that actually changed birth records of
Indians, and they would chang– just arbitrarily
change it to white or black. My great great grandfather
and grandmother, their birth certificate say black,
and they were probably Cherokee because that’s
our historic lineage, a traditional, you know,
oral tradition of our family is that we’re
Cherokee on that side. And then their children
were changed back to white because [INAUDIBLE]. Right. So that the next generation,
their birth certificate says white. So how do you figured
that out? [LAUGHS] So, yeah, it’s a way
to steal identity. And it’s just part of
what the US government has been doing for 500 years. So wiping out their
culture, right? Yes. And if we put that
term of identity theft into the current context
we all know that deals with our resources. That deals with our capital,
that deals with our money, as well. We have another– Europe had decimated
their woods. And one of the big
reasons they came here was our gigantic trees to
build the ships, and houses, and cathedrals, and whatever. And we were in a way. So, got to get these
people out of the way. Then we can take
their resources. So enslave them, ship them
out, whatever it takes, so you can get the resources. Could I make– This country has been a capital
investment since day one. Thank you, sir. I have a gentleman here, did I
hear a voice from over there? Yes, come on over here. Yes, we’ll [? have ?]
this gentleman now. I’m the descendant
of Choctaw slaves, as well as Pocasset
Wampanoag, as well. In my research, in
trying to reconnect with the heritage
of my family, I had to go through a
number of records. And what I found within my
family, on the Choctaw side, is that we had a lot
of names we considered at that time Christian names. We didn’t realize what the
importance of them were. When I came along in
the black movement, and joined the
black movement, we had this moved to take
on pan-African names. And my great grandmothers,
both on both sides, on my mother’s side and
on my father’s side, were very upset about it. And said, well you
know, giving up these Christian names,
this white man’s name, we’re not going to keep
that stuff, you know. I’m changing all my children’s
names to this, that, and the other. They say, well, no,
you can’t do that. And– but they really could
not clearly explain it to me. Until I got to this point
here, 30 years later, I’m doing my geological
research and I realized those names were
the names of the ancestors that they had taken on. The reason they had
taken on– and so to keep the memory
of those ancestors, like Annie, or Mariah,
or Glenn, they’ve named children down the
line those very same names, and that’s how we were
able to trace back who we actually were. The reason the names were
changed is because, I think, what’s missing here
is the fact that, as opposed to the
African slaves, the Native Americans had
bounties on their heads. We were cash cows
for the settlers, for the invaders here. So hence the name redskins. Those redskins had a
bounty on those skins, so as a survival technique
we had to change our names. Understood. We had to blend in. Sure. And then came along
the census takers who took us from Indian
to Negro, and from Negro to mulatto. And now black and
African American to wipe out the
very memory of us being here so that
there’s no claim to the land by our people. Thank you, sir. And we’ll come up
to the panel now. Oh, yeah, give it
up for [INAUDIBLE]. [APPLAUSE] I would just like
to say to anyone who descends from
Pocassets, the Sakonnets seem to have blended in to, and
merged in with the Pocassets. And the research that we’re
doing in Little Compton, and we dipped our toes into
[? Tiverton, ?] there’s a whole bunch of names. And if you know Pocassets
genealogy, I’d love to hear it. Because, again, sometimes
with first names, rather than last names, we might be
able to put those puzzle pieces together and– Pocassets is [? Pokanoket. ?]
It’s the nation. [INAUDIBLE] We have– [INTERPOSING VOICES] We had the Sakonnets,
in Little Compton, and the Pocassets in
Tiverton in Fall River. Lots of mixing
between the tribes, and in 1763 eight
Sakonnet families were moved to the Pocasset
reservation in Little Compton. And Sakonnet lost its
identity at that point. And so I truly believe that a
lot of the Pocasset families may well indeed be descended
from Sakonnet people. And I’m trying to
piece that together. I just wanted to– [INAUDIBLE] –sort of emphasize that. So in the 1880s, when the
state detribalized Indians here in Rhode Island, that meant
that birth records, marriage records, all sorts
of records, could not record the Indian identity. So if people, for example, come
to state records after 1880, you just aren’t going to
see that sort of stuff. And again to emphasize that
this was done by the state, you know. That this was done by the
state that we live in, and it was done during
a period of time when people thought that
they were very progressive. But, the other thing
I want to emphasize, is that children were
taken out of homes. They were separated
from their kin. Many of them did go back,
but many of them did not. In 1912 we get the development
of the foster care program, and children were
placed into foster care. One of things I did not say
is, as part of the records, what the state was calling
this was that these were indentured records. In other words, if you look at
the actual records of the State Home you will see
that these children were placed in indentured. They were indentured to other
people for a period of time. If you were an
eight-year-old child, you were indentured until you
were 16 or 18 to somebody. I just again want to emphasize
that indenturing continued in Rhode Island, and servitude
continued in Rhode Island, through the 20th century,
through the state institutions. And this is not
playing with words, I mean, indenture is a part
of the actual document, this child is indentured. Maybe– I’m just–
clarification question, what’s the difference between
being indentured and slave? And is there a playing
on words there? There are some differences. There are some? [INTERPOSING VOICES] Some of the children
said that they did not want to go into foster care
because they considered it slavery. Got a question over there? I don’t have a question. I actually wanted to say
, my name is Danny Flores, and it’s really
funny to hear this. I’m from Guatemala. Our Mayan culture is
very similar to what you were saying. In our history, what
happened to the Pokanoket is the same thing that
happened to the Mayan culture. Like we have many bands,
and some of the people decided to be identified
by the colonizers, some haven’t, right? And one of the issues I have
about indentured, or just plain slavery, is like,
you have a choice. Like an adult person,
you have a choice to die, or go into a slavery. Like a young person
do not have a choice. And their only choice
is to free themselves from their parents, or the
people that have been given to, or die. So, one of the questions I
have is, as Brown University, as slave owners, what have
been the history written by their own people? Which I think as
Pokanokets they know that the only reason they
can trace their culture, or trace their people, is
because the slave owners have a very good account
of who they owned. So my question is
more about, like we don’t believe in
owning the land, we don’t believe in
living in one land. We believe that we all
deserve the place we are in. So how you do that
when you have deeds? What you do that when
you have boundaries, when you have borders? How that goes beyond what
we are taught to believe? Indigenous people have taught
to believe that they can’t have what they used to have. So until when are we
going to stop talking about what we think we have? Because we had it all
until the white man came, or the colonizer came. My question is, when can
be just brother and sisters beyond race and class. Because indentured
slavery is about class. It’s not about race. Like that is the part that
I get really hang out. This is not about race,
this is about class. It doesn’t matter if the
president is black or white, is about class, is about how
much you have and how much you don’t. So my question is about,
is this about ownership, or is this about
the right to live? Thank you for a question. Anyone in the panel want
to respond to– It’s a tough question, I know. I want to hear from
my chief over there. Oh, you’re being
called out chief. [LAUGHTER] That’s a tough
question to answer. Yes it is. I mean there’s a lot of
issues at stake here. I mean, even our
peoples, all our people, sometimes are at war with each
other and can’t get along. You know, each Indian
tribe is different. Each African tribe is different. I mean, if you look
at the history of it. I don’t know, I don’t know
how to answer that question, to be honest with you. Some of our own people
sold us in the slavery. Marjorie, I’m sure you
know, you were just speaking about the
Sakonnets and the Pocassets. They were our mortal
enemy because they joined with Benjamin Church. So, you know, it’s
a tough question. I really don’t know
how to answer it, to be honest with you. I mean, to put everybody
together, and make everybody get along, I mean, it is
almost impossible unless we all sit down together. You know, I mean there’s
got to be a start somewhere. But we need to all
sit down together, we need to do more of
this where we all talk. That’s right. Because talking is how
you resolve issues. I mean, today there’s too much
text and too much telephone, too much e-mail, you know, when
you really need– sometimes you just need to yell at people. [LAUGHTER] You know, I mean, really. [LAUGHS] You don’t
get your feelings out, you don’t get your question
answered unless you’re face to face with somebody. So what we used to do is
sit in the talking circle and talk to people. One of the biggest things
is the loss of culture. And I go to local
powwows around here, and our Eastern people
are doing Western culture. I would say that’s one
of the biggest things is, people need to sit and
do their own culture and stay together, and not take
somebody else’s because that may be offensive to them. And it’s offensive
to you because you’re losing your own culture. So you need to sit
down together and talk. I mean, that’s the
biggest thing that I would say is– everybody
needs to sit down and talk together, and do more of this,
to make people aware of what’s going on, and how other people
feel, and how they’re feeling. So that’s where I would start. Thank you, chief. I did have a question. Oh. [LAUGHS] We’ll go to a question and then
we have some hands up there, but you’re the chief, so please Thank you, thank you
for coming to moderate. And I wanted to
ask you a question, you have a lot of
records over there, and I’m sure that the Pocassets,
two of the Council chiefs are here tonight,
myself and [? Dwayne, ?] would be more than happy
to talk to you about some of those records. That’s great. OK. Because I know that a
lot of the Sakonnets– some were absorbed
into our tribe, but because of the reservation,
the [INAUDIBLE] Reservation, they were placed there. But the Pocasset
were the majority in the last of the royal
family that Dwayne and I both descent from. We both come from the line
[? of Amy ?] of Massasoit. So it’s worth sitting down,
maybe we can help each other. Great. Thank you. Oh, yeah, that’s right,
give it up for Chief. [APPLAUSE] And there’s two right here. I don’t know. I’m a bit rattled up to be
honest. [LAUGHS] Because I want to speak to the comments
said previously about, it’s not about race,
it’s about class. I very much disagree with that– Before– this is where we
want the conversation to go– Sure. –where we’re talking
honestly to one another. Let us also
acknowledge that there is a great deal of
history that we are all bringing into the space. So anything that
is being shared, is being shared from
a space of compassion, and trying to understand. I’m just trying to head off
any potential misunderstandings of one another. Most certainly, I
greatly appreciate that. And so, what I wanted
to say was that, especially considering
in the context of the United States of America,
is very much about race, right? Because not only is it about
race, but mainly about power. And race just example files
what that same power looks like, and what it looks
like to be powerless, starting with slavery. Because Africans
were Africans when they got off the
slave ships, they were considered black, right? And the fact that slavery
was a global enterprise makes blackness itself
a global identity. So now all of a sudden
you have the Third World, black struggle, black
movement, right? And then racial demographics
change into something new, along with the times
and society in place, which has been a lot of what
I’ve been thinking about in listening to the panel share
their thoughts and their work. How is it that we can honor
the memory of our ancestors, and their struggle? While at the same time trying
to live in contemporary society, when contemporary
society itself is the main cause of
all this violence, and the history
behind disappearance, lack of sovereignty,
and the lack of power. But really what it
comes down to is not being allowed to be human. Because most of us that
are nonwhite don’t have a certain degree of humanity. Whereas if you’re black
you’re not human at all. So how do we live with
the afterlife of slavery? How do we live with the
afterlife of settler colonialism while
trying to remain visible within the same
structures of violence and power today? It’s a dissertation in itself. I mean, I don’t know. [LAUGHS] [INAUDIBLE],
everyone, [INAUDIBLE]. Hi, [INAUDIBLE]
a quick question. My name is Kat. I just wanted to say, thank
you to the panel, first of all. It was awesome, but
in some ways very triggering to listen to this. I represent the Narragansett
Mashantucket Pequot and Pokanoket and
Wampanoag people. So this is really– I think
this is so important– and just what you were
saying about visibility. And it goes back to that,
and having our stories told. So I think that’s
really important. Yeah, oh, my goodness. So a specific question
I have for Dr. Augusto– thank you so much for
sharing your research– I wanted to know if– I
saw in one of the graphics, there was something that
mentioned King Philip, and I was just– it seems that
there’s a lot of research, and a lot of work going
on– or not going on, but that has gone on,
particularly about the Pequot Wars, and I think a lot of it
has to do with the funding. But I wanted to
know if there are sort of– where the work is
being done about King Philip’s War, and the legacy of that? And particularly
because one thing that I don’t know if people know
this, but all the New England natives, we all know this. [LAUGHS] I think it’s
every two years– someone correct me if I’m wrong–
there’s a huge big powwow that happens in Bermuda. I have not been,
but I’ve heard it’s a really amazing and
fantastic experience. And it’s people
who all, you know, are a little bit
racially ambiguous, but we all know our– know
where we come from, and fight to maintain that. So I just wanted
to mention that. That we, you know,
have not disappeared. We’re still here. Yes, in addition to my question. Thank you. Repeat the question again. The question was King
Philip’s War, and the legacy of King Philip’s War. And another thing that I
heard from my Pokanoket elders growing up was that
you were not supposed to call yourself Pokanoket. And I think that relates
back to the name piece that we were
saying, you were not supposed to say you’re
Pokanoket, which is where the name Wampanoag comes from. Because we were all Pokanokets
before King Philip’s War so. This is where I
would do two things, I don’t know if you heard
me in the beginning. But I tried to preface
my small contribution with the utmost modesty
that I could gather. And I wasn’t doing
it as a performance. It is exactly how
I feel when you are asked to speak about a
field of knowledge that’s not the one that you
normally work in, or that you’ve done
the most work in. So I am not a historian
of Native America. What I work on is
the intersection of knowledge between enslaved
Africans, indigenous people, and European colonists. It’s an intersection. I usually work on the
sciences, with respect to that, [INAUDIBLE] history of science
that’s told differently. So I want to make
very clear that I responded to the invitation to
speak, but this is not my area. The questions that you are
posing are not my area of work, and I don’t want to be
arrogant enough to– [LAUGHS] –prentend and answer to them. However, what can I say? I think that historians
choose which groups they want to work on, and if that
leaves a great imbalance in the historical
record, I think that the classification of
who is a Native American is very fraught in
the United States. I was listening very
carefully to my friend here, when he was talking
about Choctaw– Choctaw, right? Because in my family
that also exists, and I only found out
about it recently. And it’s a very
fraught question when you are both African
American descent and Native American descent. It becomes very, very,
very complicated. I am not an expert in this. It is not the historical
work that I do. Your question is
important, and I will slide over into a plug
for what Brown is trying to do. As a result of demand of Native
American students at Brown, who are not many, but
enough to make this demand, and also intertwined with a set
of demands about Black Lives Matter, I’ll just say they’re
written large on this campus. We went through a process
earlier this year, one of my colleagues is here,
who is on the committee– the working group that did
that– to begin to establish a program, a real
proper program, of Native American and
Indigenous Studies at Brown. Many of the questions
that people were– that have been raised, and
that will be raised, I think are fair themes for
that program of study. And what we have to figure
out is how you do that, how should I call it? [? Dialogically. ?] How you
do that involving as many Native Americans as possible,
and then the scholars on campus. And we’re surrounded
by, not disappeared people, but Native American
communities, various ones in the New England area. And so one of the challenges,
and one of the invitations perhaps, that we can make is
that, as the program gets up– it has been approved,
more or less. But as the program
gets up and running we need to establish
real partnerships, in the first place with
Native American nations and communities in this area,
so we can do this kind of work together. It includes a lot
of oral history work that needs to be done,
but includes also a lot of archival work. Brown has one of the
richest repositories in the country, if
not in the world, in the John Carter
Brown Library. Nobody’s here who’s
directly from the library so I can say it, that thing
needs to be busted open and used for [LAUGHTER] –these kinds of
purposes of study. And there are a
number of professors on this campus, who are studying
these questions from differing standpoints. One is my colleague,
sitting right there, [? keeping ?] very quiet. But around the campus
there are people who are trying to begin to do this. And at the insistence of
the Native American students at Brown, we’re getting to
pull together a program. And I think that’s the
proper program, where the questions that many will
raise from the audience, can be best answered. There are, of course,
other programs for the study the Native
American at other colleges and universities in the area. And I’m sure the program
that’s established at Brown would collaborate with those. But we know whose
ground we stand on, and whose ground these
buildings sit on. So there’s a kind of a
historical and moral obligation to do this work. And I think that at Brown
it will begin to go forward. Not because it wanted to, but
pushed as all such things are, pushed. If you want to read
excellent, new scholarship on King Philip’s War,
very comprehensive, just go out tomorrow and
buy this book Margaret Ellen Newell, Brethren by Nature. And the more exciting
thing is that she’s coming to campus to speak. And Shane is going to
remind us of the date. October 27 at [INAUDIBLE]. And what is wonderful is
she links the Pequot War with King Philip’s War in ways
that never really even occurred to me. And it has convinced me that
it’s almost a continuum. And I’m 3/4 of the way
through and learning so much. And again, what was
the date on that? It’s October 27 at 5:30. October 27, 5:30. And location? [INAUDIBLE] There you go. All right. Thank you very much. Dr. Palermo, did
you want to respond? Yeah, I want to respond
to my brother’s question right here because
that was a very– I didn’t want that
to go unresponded to. That was a very heavy
point and question. And I want to respond to it
in a couple different ways. One is, I see my response
to your question thinking about the economic
crisis in Puerto Rico, and what that means. And thinking about being a
Puerto Rican from the Bronx, thinking about the struggle
of the Young Lords, and thinking about the
plight of Pedro Albizu Campos and the
Nationalist Party, and thinking about the identity
of Puerto Rican and Tainos, and what that means today. And I was on a panel
at a conference last weekend about the
Puerto Rican diaspora, right. It’s ran by the Center
of Puerto Rican Studies in Hunter College. And I was just
dumbfounded and blown away at these conversations
around, what do we do to support our
people on the island? And my takeaway from that
was really just, well, we don’t have any
power on the island, so let’s all flee, come to
the States, where we can vote, and get people into Congress who
can care about making decisions about the island. If that wasn’t a
hustle backwards mentality, trying to hack
an oppressive mindset, within the oppressors home, by
being locked inside the house without the key. I wish– I didn’t know
what to do in that space I felt what you
just asked, right. And so it was like, where
do I fit in all this? So you know, I
don’t know how this is any kind of helpful
response, but it’s really– my first response
to you is, before we can talk about the collective,
we need to know ourselves. And my own self discovery was
really tracing my family roots through documentation to
my fifth great grandmother in Puerto Rico born in 1725,
Salome Negron y Torres. Negron, a deviation
on Negro, and Torres, who was more than likely the
slave owner, the conquistador that owned their family. And so I would say, as it
pertains to people of color who in some way, shape, or form, are
native to this continent, not just this country, is to
know where you come from, know what that means,
and then understand what is bestowed upon you. You are an indigenous
person to this land. What does that mean? It means you have rights
protected under the United Nations, right? You have to understand
your classification, you have to understand
what that means. Are you a Puerto Rican from
the country of Puerto Rico? No. Are you Native– we use Native
American interchangeably. That is a classification
for the census. That’s not a– that’s not the
country of Native America, right? Latino, there’s no
country, Latino, right? So it’s understanding the
classifications, the identity, what that means, and then what
rights are available to you, but not only are
you entitled to. So doing– like looking at what
just happened in Canada just passed a sweeping
government’s legislation, like an apology and
restoration of rights to the First Nations of Canada. Huge, huge achievement for the
indigenous people of Canada. In Australia, Aboriginal
people got their land back. Huge achievements. So, you know, it’s a very loaded
question with a very loaded answer, but I just want to
make sure it was responded to in a way where it comes down
to the individual understanding themselves, and who they’re
really connected to. I hope that helped. Can I also say, I wasn’t
skirting your question. It’s still rolling
around in my mind, and it will roll around
for quite some time. It’s, they say, heavy. So you know what is meant. But I think that you make a
point that probably has just been made over and over again,
because it’s unpleasant. And it’s particularly
unpleasant in Latin America. Which is, sometimes it’s
not just about class, it is also about race and class. And you almost have to say
it over and over again. People would like to
kind of run from it. But it is about,
particularly– I mean, it’s almost always true– but
it’s particularly true also when you’re talking
about Native Americans. It is about race and class. So your question
will roll around in the mind for quite some time. But I didn’t want to
skirt the question. I didn’t answer because I don’t
have a facile answer for what you said. And I think your question
did its purpose, if you will. Because I hope we’re all
mulling that over in our minds. Mr. Watson. So I just, first of all,
I want to thank everyone for this fantastic evening. Can we have around of
applause for our fantastic panelists? [APPLAUSE] And also a round of applause
for our fantastic facilitator, Jonathan Lewis, as well,
for the fantastic job you’re doing tonight. [APPLAUSE] We are going to move onto
some other questions, but I did want to just jump
in real quick because I wanted to bring something up to
make sure we touched base on it, particularly
because it’s been something that’s personally affected me. And I know that there
are several other Indians in the room that have been
impacted by this as well. And particularly when it
comes to classification, and then Pierre brought up
the point of being recognized, federally recognized. So I wanted to address that
also in terms of its impact to this day when we’re
talking about classification. And specifically
because– Pierre, you spoke about the tribe
being detribalized in 1881, when one of the main
chiefs at the time was [? Bristol ?] Michael Lewis,
my fourth great grandfather. So my personal journey has been,
my fourth great grandfather being chief of the tribe
when they get detribalized, me coming across his death
certificate, which has him listed as colored–
no longer Indian but colored– down to me,
who was not only listed as African American,
but who has never been allowed to be on the
federally recognized rolls. So I’m wondering if anyone could
speak, or would be willing to, brave enough to speak
about the ongoing impact that these classifications
are still having on our people today, especially in
terms of causing disunity. Because Narragansett,
Pocasset, Pokanoket, these are all peoples. But then, amongst our
own peoples you get, well you’re not
federally recognized so you’re not a real Indian,
that sort of stuff going on. So if we could talk maybe, or
just touch on, sort of the self perpetuating genocide
that we keep on ourselves by buying into these
colonial classifications that they keep popping
up with every 10, 20, 30 years to kind of
keep things in the mix, the way that they’ve been. So I can kind of
respond to that. So that is a textbook
oppressive response. I mean there’s really
no other way to put it. When it is [CHUCKLES] right
out of Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, when the
oppressed oppress themselves they’re feeling the
oppressor job for them. So to think that
federally recognized means any kind of
superiority, or trumps– a federal recognition
trumps blood and bloodlines, is just doing the
oppressors’ work for them. Because what– as an educator
in community development and community health,
I mean, [CHUCKLES] the federal– reservations
have one of the worst, if not the worst, health
outcomes, educational outcomes. So what is federally
recognition get you if you’re not part of
the cohort who owns the casino on the reservation? And even bringing
that into a class, again, it comes down
to the classification as a Native American who
is federally recognized. And it kind of goes back
to your question around, by being recognized or
classified as Native American, or black, or whatever, you are
property to your government. Right? So that’s why we can
kill unarmed black men in the streets and this is
not a human rights crisis. It’s not– the UN is not
coming in here, right? It’s not the Syrian
crisis, where we need to get involved because
they’re killing thousands and thousands. But we’re killing thousands and
thousands of our own citizens, in some way, shape, or form. Through police brutality, mass
incarceration, subjugation, and oppression in the
Native American federally recognized territories. But that’s not a
human rights crisis, it’s not an international
crisis, right? So classification is a very big
stronghold on the subjugation by your government. And so the Native
Americans harping on being federally
classified are just doing the work
for the oppressor. That’s my take on it, at least. The bottom line still is
it all comes down to money. Everything revolves around
money, the classification, everything, even jails. Jails are a corporation. Towns are a corporation. They are about making the money. So the best thing that a
person can do, first of all, is to understand
the administration of justice, how things work. Education is going to help you
a lot with a lot of the things that you’re talking about here. Because if you don’t understand
how the system works, you cannot fight it,
you simply can’t. So if you understand the
administration of justice, and how each
intricate government operation works, as they
saying federal recognition. Well, how do you get
federal recognition? Because under the
Constitution only Congress can deal with the Indian tribes. It doesn’t say
federal Indian tribes, there were no federal
Indian tribes. All tribes are tribes. I know I have the
blood, I did DNA, I don’t have to worry about it. And my 10th generation
grandfather was King Philip. So there’s no reason
for me to worry about being
recognized by somebody who is recognized by my family
first when they came here. [LAUGHTER] And that’s one of
the things, I mean you have to have the pride to
do that, and say, I am who I am, and I’m not going to take it. But part of that is
to get the education and to learn how
that’s how we lost, because they use the money
against each and every person. And I’m not talking about
just the Native Americans, it was the Africans, it was
the Irish, it was the Scottish. They did it all over the world. It’s all about money. And when people put
the money aside, and they learn to get along, and
stop thinking about the money, and how they’re
going to make money, then some of these problems
will cease to exist. Because, let me tell you,
it’s all about the money and the jurisdiction. They have the
jurisdiction to tax you, they have the jurisdiction
to give you a ticket, to tax your house. Nobody in this country
is free, unfortunately. And just like, I’m
a veteran, I signed on the dotted line of property
of the United States Government until I surrendered that right. You have to understand the
system before you can fight it, before you can win. And we can’t fight
amongst each other. Every denomination in the world
turned against each other, Africans sold their brothers,
they sold their brothers to the slave traders. OK? Indians did to same thing. Mohawks came down and worked
in Boston for slave catchers. So everybody is at fault.
The bottom line is the money. And when we put that aside
the problem will be resolved. Thank you. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] This may be our last
question of the evening. Hi, my name is Andrea
[? Walking Dove. ?] And I’d like to comment,
first to you in reference to your question about what
are we doing collectively to bring awareness to the
history, and to King Phillip, and what we’ve done in the past. I was blessed to get some
very good teachings from Three Bears, Donald Fisher. And one of the
videos he showed me was of a 1987 video in Boston
with many Natives around New England talking about
education, and honoring King Phillip [INAUDIBLE]. And the response of the
room from the Natives was an eagerness to
reintroduce the rich culture of the Indigenous to the
curriculum of our Boston– Massachusetts. And the representative
of Dukakis had said, it’s long overdue
that that happen. That was in 1987 and
is yet to happen. So that’s fore and foremost
really where we need to go. Considering the
treaties, all of them that have been broken since
our country’s been founded, the grandfather of all treaties,
the [INAUDIBLE], education [? meant ?] care taking for
seven generations, the water, the land, the air, our people. And making sure that all
of our needs were met, and that was the true wealth. Of all the genocides
that are happening now, and that have
happened in the past, we are stopping through
collectively wiping our tears from Wounded Knee,
and healing our hearts. And understanding that it
takes the wisdom of our elders and the nurturing of our
children to really collectively come together, and understand
that healing our hearts, first, will heal ourselves. And then we can
heal those around us through the education. And as a 20– 25-year
school teacher, mostly in Rhode Island, I’m
struggling with it daily, moving from school to school,
because my school was bulldozed for asbestos and
other things, I’m constantly attacked as to why
I’m teaching indigenous wisdom. That can be an
after-school program. And I say, no, that’s
what education is. You know the science of
our [? educations, ?] how do we care take our waters,
And finally in the history of our country our native
tribes, brothers and sisters, are understanding truly what
[SPEAKING NATIVE LANGUAGE] means. It means, we are one. It doesn’t matter what label
we give us, but we are human. And the Natives in
every part of our world have gathered at Standing
Rock, and are care taking now in sacred [INAUDIBLE] ceremony. And they’re care
taking our waters. And they’re having a sacred
horse backride in October. And they’re asking
all of us to stand up in our own communities,
which we are doing. We just need to keep doing it. And we need to stand strong
and firm with our voices to those who think they can
control our education systems and our foster-care systems
and [? those ?] such. Because it’s still happening. It’s in the 21st century and
our Native children are still being attacked, and
it needs to stop now. That comes from the
wisdom of a Mohawk woman, when something needs
to stop, you say, just stop it now, so there. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] Dr. Augusto said something
that has– I think, I just want to highlight
before we wrap up– and that is the colonialist
is afraid of the black brown revolt. I think that’s something
that you shared earlier. That the system is
afraid of black and brown getting together. I think, because of folks did
get together a new reality would take place. And I think– this is again
just me going out on a limb– but I believe the fear that many
folks are saying that they’re feeling before they’re
taking the trigger, has something do with this,
has something to do with this. Just being afraid
of somebody who says nothing, who has
their hands up like this, I think there is a deep–
there’s something major going on with folks. Recognizing what has
been done to our people for centuries and
generations, and being– an understanding, if they wanted
to do the same thing to me. But, as I go back to
the very first comment I made about the
Natives, it hasn’t been about killing
one another when they meet somebody different. It’s been about that love,
that extending to one another. And right now, my friends,
the black brown unity is more important than ever, and
extending the best that we can, our olive branch if you
will, to the Master. Because we don’t. Like you just brought, the
Pedagogy of the Oppressed, we do not want to become
what it is that we hate. So we have to be very careful
that if we do gain the power that we are seeking, that we
do not inflict the same pain on future generations. And I want to thank everybody
for coming here, especially my good friend over
here, Ray Watson. I never know exactly which
name to use, he has so many. [LAUGHS] And they’re all very powerful
and important classifications, I will say. But Mr. Watson, we do
all want to thank you, because you have carried this
torch for the last seven years. Not alone, not alone, but when
nobody else wanted to. [LAUGHS] [APPLAUSE] And I will be
remiss if I did not acknowledge the other members
of the planning committee that are here tonight. So of course, Professor
Bogues, from the Center for the Study of Slavery and
Justice, thank you very much, sir. [APPLAUSE] Mr. Larry Wilson, from
Rhode Island College. [APPLAUSE] Daryl Black Eagle Jamison,
here, who’s been around since the first year, was well. I had the good fortune of
bumping in and starting a conversation with
[? Janet, and ?] putting the idea in her mind. But as Jonathan
said, by no means at all has this
been a solo deal, because we would not be here
had it been just up to me to get it done. And I think– That’s the truth –anybody who
works with me knows that I have no problem
acknowledging that, and that I expect other
people to understand that when we’re working together. If you’re waiting for
me to get it all done, we might as well not do it. I just want to thank
everyone, especially Brown University and the
Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice for this
fantastic space. I want to take each and
every one of our panelists. Can we have another
round of applause– [APPLAUSE] –for our fantastic panelist. And what’s exceptionally
about this is, and we touched on it earlier. Yes, she took off–
[? Elaine ?] left early, and that’s why I didn’t
acknowledge her– But from the Rhode
Island State Council for the Arts, which has been
involved since day one as well. There’s just been a number
of different individuals representing a number of
different institutions and organizations that have been
supporting this, that we can be here by the seventh year. But this year in particular,
just to look at the panel there, and see representatives
from Brown, Rick and Roger Williams in one room,
discussing something that is impactful for the
communities that are right here, in my opinion, having
grown up here my whole life, that’s historic
right there, what we’re looking at right now. [APPLAUSE] So a round of applause for
everyone for being here. And a round of applause for
our panelists for understanding the importance of definitely
respecting where we come from, but understanding
that each of us, no matter what
capacity we’re in, has something that we can add
to collectively moving us all forward. I just want to, once
again, remind us that tomorrow night is the
fire torch ceremony at Roger Williams National Memorial. And then Saturday and Sunday
is the big drum powwow, so please, please, please,
please, please, please, please, do not let this be the last time
you interact with this Seventh Annual New England
Native American Culture because there’s so much more. There’s so much more out there. We just love showing off our
culture here in New England because we were the
first ones to meet the colonists in this area. We were the first ones
to invite them in. Thanksgiving’s coming up,
if William [INAUDIBLE], Pokanoket Nation
were here, he would make sure to point out
the fact that, they were the ones who
had Thanksgiving with the colonists, not
the other way around. And that was in October
and not November. And all of these little
things that have gotten lost in the larger sort
of colonial narrative that has been shown to us. It’s so important
that the history of the people from
right around here be told, because the history
of the people from around here is the history that started
this thing called the US, which has had such an
impact upon the globe. When you telling the
story of New England, and New England
Native Americans, you’re telling the
story of the world since that initial interaction. And it’s an important
story to be told. So in the language
of our people we say, [SPEAKING NATIVE LANGUAGE]. Thank you very much for
listening to us this night. And [SPEAKING NATIVE LANGUAGE]
we do hope to see you all soon. [SPEAKING NATIVE LANGUAGE] [APPLAUSE]

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