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Native American history through one Wampanoag family's journey for truth

August 24, 2022


Martha’s Vineyard, with its beautiful shoreline and farm land, has long been a summer destination, but most visitors know little about the history of the Wampanoag people. The Wampanoags were the Native Americans who helped the pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving, and not long after suffered attacks and decimation by them.

A group on the island has worked for several years to revive the Wampanoag history by educating children and adults about the Native culture and traditions while also aiming to protect the planet.

For a transcript to read alongside as you watch the video, click here.

Five Facts

  • Who is featured in this segment?
  • What are the goals of Sassafras Earth Education?
  • Where is Martha’s Vineyard?
  • When did people first inhabitant Martha’s Vineyard, or the land the Wampanoags call Noepe?
  • Why is it important to the Vanderhoops to raise their children knowing Wampanoag history and culture?
  • How can you learn more about the original inhabitants who lived on the land where your school is located?

Focus Questions

How do educational programs that teach the history of Native People like the Wampanoags make a difference in our understanding the whole of American history?

Media literacy: There is an active Wampanoag tribal council and community that works on current political, economic and social issues facing the Wampanoag people. Why do you think the producers chose to focus mainly on the Vanderhoops and Sassafras Earth Education?

For More

Learn more about the Wampanoag people in this article by elder Nancy Eldredge, Nauset Wampanoag and Penobscot. The following lesson about the Wampanoag’s continuous fight to protect their land may be particularly useful at the start of the school year and Thanksgiving time:

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