The Friends of Pleasant Bay mission statement includes recognition of the Indigenous history of the Bay. For many years, the Friends had not yet fully addressed this important aspect of our mission. In 2020, the board created a new committee, the Native Cultural Initiative, with the broad mandate to build a bridge between our communities, to create an understanding and to develop a relationship with our Indigenous neighbors.
Pleasant Bay, known as Monomoyick by the Indigenous community and their ancestors, has a centuries long history that preceded the events of 1620. There is an abundance of evidence of that history that has been assimilated into our daily lives. Place names and street names are examples that surround the shoreline of the bay; Namequoit, Potanomicut, Wequasset, Cotchpinecote, and Pochet to name a few. Reconciling the past with the present, while painful, has also been deeply rewarding and educational for the committee. The journey ahead will continue to require perseverance and compassion as we explore how to lay the foundation of a lasting alliance with our Indigenous neighbors.
Our first step has been to draft a Land Acknowledgement, and to share that with the Wampanoag community.
We acknowledge that the bay and its watershed known as Monomoyick to the Monomoyick, Nauset, and Wampanoag peoples is sacred. We recognize that the descendants of those ancient Indigenous communities still live upon the elbow of Cape Cod, maintaining a cultural identity and living in balance with the gifts of Turtle Island, now known as North America.
In 2022, the committee identified five areas of focus for continued work and exploration going forward. They include:
Facilitate Indigenous access to the watershed;
Create educational opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous children;
Educate the general population on the Indigenous history of the Bay;
Facilitate use of the waters by Indigenous peoples;
Center Indigenous voices in FoPB’s work and communications.
We invite you to visit our website periodically, as we add information and resources related to these areas of focus.