The Wampanoag have lived in southeastern Massachusetts for more than 12,000 years. They were the first tribe encountered by the Pilgrims when they landed in Patuxet (what is now Plymouth). This exhibition will bring a full-scale reproduction of a Wetu (about 12-14’ in diameter), a traditional Wampanoag structure to the grounds of Heritage Museums & Gardens, accompanied by a Wampanoag-style vegetable garden. The Wetu will be made by members of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, following centuries-old construction methods. Steven Peters (Wampanoag), of Smoke Sygnals and a local Wampanoag leader, historian, and educator, will spearhead the project. Placed on the lawn of Heritage’s 17th Century house built by the Wing family, the Wetu will create a powerful juxtaposition and dialogue of how two groups (English colonists and Native Wampanoag) of people lived in this region and related to each other. The exhibition will be self-guided, with interpretive signage that presents historical and contemporary information about the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.
“I have to say that we truly have fallen in love with the idea of this exhibit. So much of our work has focused on bringing the Native experience to the public and this just feels like such an authentic way to achieve that goal. Delivering the structure will absolutely spark interest from your visitors.” – Steven Peters, Creative Director, Smoke Sygnals, Inc.