Ancient Pokanoket names are everywhere in Sowams!

The ancient place names of the Pokanoket people have been changed or eliminated by colonial settlers starting in the 17th century. In the map at the left are some of those ancient names over the places they once designated. In other cases, some of the original names have been retained to name businesses or street but with no relation to what they originally designated. This is an example of settler colonization. The map to the left shows the original place names of the Pokanoket people prior to colonization by the English who settled the area after 1620. Since that time, Indigenous names have been incorporated into the names of schools, businesses and numerous organizations within the eight communities that comprise Sowams. Likewise, over fifty street names are derived from Indigenous name but fail to reveal the ancient places that the names once designated. This is part of the process by which settlers either erase or distort the original history of a place and replace it with the colonizers’ meaning and values.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *