Very few books on the history and culture of the southern New England Native peoples have been written by the Natives themselves. Standard academic books read like a clinical autopsy of a dead culture from many years ago. Contrary to this, A Cultural History of the Native Peoples of Southern New England provides an understanding of the ways, customs, and language of the southern New England American Indians from the Native's perspective. For the first time, a book written about the Native American peoples of southern New England is written by the Natives themselves. Incorporating voices of modern Elders and other Natives to the historic records of the 1500s and 1600s, everything about the beauty, power, and richness of their culture has been included. Sections of the book cover appearance, language, family and relations, religion, the body and senses, marriage, sickness, war, games, hunting, and much more. The proud and fiercely independent Native American peoples of southern New England once walked tall and proud on this land. With this book, they are now beginning to walk tall again.
Islander Ensures Heritage and Culture for Future Generations
Among his colleagues at NUWC, Frank O'Brien works on a lot of classified projects as a mathematician and senior scientist. As Dr. Francis Joseph O'Brien, he earned a Ph. D. from Columbia University in New York with a dissertation on applied linguistics. As "Moondancer" he authored several books including; Understanding Algonquian Indian Words and Wampanoag Cultural History: Voices from Past and Present. Currently known as "Waabu," this 60-year-old Newporter is a member of the Rhode Island Indian Council, but to his daughter, Lily, he will always be dad.
With a name like O'Brien, are you positive about your Indian heritage? Yes, my father is of mixed-blood descent and my mother's family were farmers from the Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi in Canada. They migrated to Rhode Island in the early 1900s. But, since RI was more of an industrial state I say I grew up in Providence as a child of "urban peasants."
How did you come to be named "Moondancer" and later "Waabu"? Indians traditionally change their names several times; for a great deed or physical characteristic. A friend of mine from the Narragansett tribe teased me because I used to go bed to early and get up early and didn't have much free time, so he called me "Moondancer." When my wife and I divorced, my life changed and so I changed my name also, now my native name is "Waabu." - East Bay Rhode Island Paper.
Review in American Indian Quarterly (vol. 34):
A Cultural History of the Native Peoples of Southern New England offers a contribution by scholars with Native American ancestry who are reappropriating their history by presenting their own version of a regional Native culture history. This book provides an excellent introduction to the subject of southern New England Indian culture and history at the high school or upper middle school level or for nonacademics seeking more knowledge about Indians in this region. The language and material are both very accessible for readers of all ages, and the inclusion of information from several Native informants separates this book from similar texts. The contributions by twenthieth-century New England Indians remind readers that Indians in New England are still very present and knowledgeable about their history and culture.
Professor Jennings Wins Extraordinary Woman Award
On March 8, the Extraordinary Woman Award Program in Providence, RI, honored Eastern anthropology professor Julianne Jennings, one of nine women who received the award. The award, which recognizes women from different ethnic origins, recognizes outstanding work that women perform in different areas of the community that enhances education, professional and business development, community involvement, cultural enrichment, health, politics and communications for woman in the future in Rhode Island. Jennings, a Cheroenhaka Nottoway Native American, received the award in cultural enrichment. For more than 15 years, she has been teaching children and adults about the history and culture of the native people in Southern New England. She currently teaches a First-Year Program Liberal Arts Colloquium entitled "Mixed Blood Indians in Southern New England."
Jennings is the author of several books and journal articles, and has recently co-authored a book entitled, “A Cultural History of the Native People of Southern New England” (Bauu Press). In 2007, she received the Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Warrior” Award presented by Rhode Island College for her outstanding advocacy against violence and sexual assault against Native American women.
Copies are available at your local bookstore, or through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Authors: Moondancer and Strong Woman
Publication Date: 2008