Pokanoket Tribe participates in Osamequin Farm maple sugaring event

Maple sugaring was not new when the Pilgrims landed at Patuxet (Plymouth) in 1620. The Pokanoket people who they met had been making sugar from the sweet sap of the maple tree for eons. They would move their whole families into a spot in the forest where there were plentiful sugar maple trees where they would establish “sugar camps” for the month or so that the maple sap would flow. Osamequin Farm in Seekonk, MA, invited members of the Pokanoket Tribe to talk about maple sugaring.

Pokanoket Sachem Dancing Star (above, left and center) told a story about the maple moon and gave a little bit of maple sugaring history from an Indigenous viewpoint. She also offered a land acknowledgement and sang a song with Blue Star, Rainbow Heart and Listening Wind as Snowy Owl drummed.

(Above) Osamequin Farm Director Sarah Turkus demonstrated how to tap a maple tree to collect the sap and then boil it down in an evaporator to remove most of the water.

(Above, left) People listen to the program while the collected sap is boiled down to make syrup. The jar on the left holds syrup made from the earliest taps, the one in the middle from two weeks ago, and the one on the right from sap boiled earlier in the day of the demonstration. 160 gallons of sap was boiled down to make three gallons of syrup.

Osamequin Farm Director Sarah Turkus (left) smiles as children taste the sugar in the sap as it comes out of a tree.

Click here for a 4-minute video of how Native Americans made maple sugar.