The goal of the Sowams Heritage Area Project is to ensure that the ancestral seat of the Pokanoket Nation is designated by the U.S. Congress as a National Heritage Area (NHA), “where natural, cultural, and historic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape.” Under the auspices of the U.S. Park Service, the National Heritage Area program is a grassroots, community-driven approach to cultural heritage conservation and economic development. Above all, the Sowams Heritage Area will tell a story that needs to be told and offers lessons about our past that can inform our future as a diverse and complex culture.
In late August 2022, the team from Point Heritage Development Consultants visited the Sowams Heritage Area for three days of orientation. Nancy Morgan (Lakewood, CO), August Carlino (Pittsburgh, PA) and Peter Samuel (Philadelphia, PA) met with small groups of stakeholders and toured sites throughout Sowams, including Mt. Hope in Bristol, the Martin House in Swansea, the Barrington Preservation Society Museum, Hunts Mills and the Newman Church in East Providence, the Carpenter Museum in Rehoboth, and the Roger Williams National Memorial (pictured left) in Providence. Indigenous sites included Potumtuck at Mt. Hope, the Royal Burial Ground at Burr’s Hill, Sachem’s Knoll in Swansea and Watchemoket in East Providence. The team’s visit to Sowams will help them to better understand the scope of the Project over the coming months and years, and to create a roadmap for telling the rich and complex story of colonial occupation in the homeland of the Massasoit Ousamequin.