American Indian Study Committee members Wendy Brennen, Deb Jobin, John Mensinger, Jacque Russom, Rock Singewald, and David Weed were joined by Pokanoket Sagamore William Guy and Sachem Tracey Brown as well as Town Council President Keri Cronin and Councilor Steve Calanda in front of the newly-installed Land Acknowledgement marker. The Town Council voted for what is believed to be the first municipal Land Acknowledgement in New England on July 13, 2021. The statement, authored by members of the Study Committee and approved by the Pokanoket Nation Council declares the Town’s recognition of its Indigenous origins.
(Above) Study Committee Chairman Rock Singewald thanks the members of the Town Council who voted unanimously in favor of adopting the Land Acknowledgement which was then posted in front of Town Hall for all to see.
The Land Acknowledgement reads: Welcome to Sowams, the ancestral home of the Pokanoket people for ten thousand (10,000) years prior to settler colonization. We pay tribute to the tribal elders and people of this community who served and continue to serve as stewards of the lands and waterways of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. We recognize the unique and enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous People and their traditional territories. We acknowledge that our community was a part of the larger ancestral homeland of the Pokanoket Nation. Let this acknowledgement serve as a reminder of our ongoing efforts to recognize, honor, reconcile and partner with the Pokanoket people for the benefit of the lands and water of Sowams.
Sowams Heritage Area Project Coordinator Dr. David Weed poses for a photo in front of the frieze over the door of Town Hall for a front-page article in the December 31, 2021 edition of the Providence Journal.