Northeastern University’s main campus is located on the land of the Massachusett, the Wampanoag and the Nipmuc peoples. Northeastern’s history stretches back for roughly 120 years in Boston and yet these tribes have been in this area for thousands of years. Northeastern University and New England’s history did not start with the arrival of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, and this encounter was not even the first time that the Native peoples along the coast interacted with Europeans. This paper will give a snapshot into the colonial history of the Native Americans in New England to provide a basic background of the history that we strive to recognize and elevate with the adoption of Indigenous People’s Day. This history is crucial to understand and recognize as the legacy of this history can be felt in the current treatment of New England native peoples. Native American history must be taught to counteract the erasure of native voices, to understand native fights for land rights and to comprehend the hurt of cultural appropriation. Northeastern University prides itself in its multiculturalism, and yet Northeastern does not recognize native histories of the very land it occupies. Northeastern can begin to reckon with its part in the settler colonial society by starting to listen to, learn, and teach these histories. Native Americans in Massachusetts and New England took advantage of the seasons, using mobility to exploit natural resources at the most opportune time. Many Native Americans would congregate at rivers when fish was abundant and disperse into lower density units during colder months when they needed to rely on hunting. When Europeans arrived on the shores of New England they were struck by the perceived abundance of natural resources in the area, and in their minds, the poverty of Native Americans. Rather than being “lazy” or “savage”, Native Americans simply had different values than the European colonizers. Europeans arrived specifically looking for commodities that could be bought and sold for a profit; however, for Native Americans, most of the natural resources were not a commodity but a necessity for life. Although Native Americans did not live entirely in harmony with nature as many today would think with the myth of the “ecological Indian”, Native Americans often did not overexploit natural resources as a means to accumulate wealth, thus ensuring the abundance of resources for the next generation. Likewise, Native Americans did not have the same ideas of property as the Europeans. Native Americans valued the resources on the land and often would trade in resource use or allow resource use in treaties. These ways of life were far from inferior to European values, but simply different. As an example, Native Americans often had much more leisure time than Europeans which caused Europeans to wrongly state that the Native Americans had not worked hard enough for this leisure. Many myths and ideas we have about Native Americans stem from this wholly unfounded feeling of superiority by early Europeans. The propagation of these myths and false superiority became a basis for the Europeans horrific treatment of Native peoples. Native peoples of New England first interacted with Europeans when fishing ships from Europe would come and peruse the New England shores. As fishermen interacted with the Native peoples along the coast, Native Americans and Europeans traded materials, food and knowledge. This is one of the reasons (along with the use of indigenous peoples as slaves) that when the first colonial settlers arrived in New England they met Native Americans among the Wampanoag tribe who could speak English. When Europeans engaged in trade with Native Americans, they were struck by the fact that Native Americans used many of the goods that they bought as status symbols. However, this mindset represented hypocrisy on the part of the colonizers as the colonizers mainly invested in purchasing materials such as beaver fur which was solely used as a status symbol in Europe. Therefore, the Europeans viewed their goods as the goods of civilization while Native American goods were inferior. This is again the same problematic viewpoint discussed above in which the Europeans attempted to “civilize” Native Americans. Civilizing as was understood by Europeans meant denigrating indigenous culture, banning indigenous languages, stealing indigenous land, forcing Christian religion and selling indigenous slaves. Since the first contact with Europeans, Native Americans have resisted these attempts at “civilizing” and colonization. This fight against colonization has taken many forms, from arguing against the theft of indigenous land in the court system to ensuring the persistence of indigenous ways of life to the reclamation of traditions such as the Wôpanâak Language. One better known resistance in New England, but certainly not the only resistance nor the last resistance, is King Philips War. King Philips war was a large conflict between New England tribes including the Nipmuc, Pocumtucks, Wampanoag and Narragansett and the English colonizers. The English colonizers had their own Native American allies in the Mohegan, Pequot, Massachusett and Nauset peoples. This war decimated both the Native American population of the region as well as the European population with many towns burned and villages destroyed. The war was led by Philip, the sachem of the Pokunoket Wampanoag who tapped into the frustration and anger about the Europeans maltreatment of Native peoples. Some Native tribes joined to reclaim their ancestral land and to drive the English away, while others joined due to a sense that the English would never stop and would eventually destroy their tribes and their way of life. Although the war had a devastating effect on the colonizers themselves, King Philips War provided the colonizers with the justification to attack and kill the so called “savages”. With the help of their own Native American allies, the English were able to defeat the coalition led by Philip leading to the further theft of indigenous land and the end of large scale military uprisings against the English in New England. Due to the devastating nature of the war, a long-term effect of this war was the disruption of tribal traditions and knowledge with the death and subsequent relocation of so many Native Americans. One of the sad legacies of King Philips war which is still recognized today, through a yearly commemorative journey by the Nipmuc people, is the internment of Native Americans on Deer Island in Boston harbor. With King Philips war raging across New England, the residents of the Massachusetts colony refused to trust the Native Americans who professed their loyalty to the colonizers, many of whom had converted to Christianity. To repay this loyalty, the English interned members of a diverse number of tribes, from the Nipmuc to the Penobscot on Deer Island. More than half of the Native Americans on the island died as the English did not provide enough food or shelter during the long winter months. Compounding the deaths from exposure, slavers were known to enter Boston harbor and steal Native Americans off of Deer Island for trade in the Caribbean. All of this was known by and oftentimes sanctioned by the English colonizers and yet they called Native Americans “savages”? Ignoring the horrific history of the Deer Island internment, a waste treatment plant was built on the island over the protests of local indigenous tribes. When thinking about recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day at Northeastern University, we must establish “Native space, with its long history of colonial violence, as the very foundation of the country.” We must engage with this history and address Northeastern’s role as an institution founded on stolen land. Northeastern must recognize Indigenous People’s Day. However, Northeastern must not simply put the name on the calendar, but provide programing on indigenous history and continued indigenous presence. Northeastern must work with our host tribes to support them with our educational resources. Northeastern must think critically about art and cultural events on campus to ensure that our hosts and their history is considered. Northeastern must use its resources to help drive indigenous centered curriculums and events. Perhaps with steps like these we can leave a positive legacy and begin to improve our relations with our hosts.  William Cronin, Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England, (New York: Hill and Wang, 1983) pg 33.  Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker, “All the Real Indians Died Off”: And 20 Other Myths about Native Americans, (Beacon Press, 2016).  Cronin, 12  Amy Ouden, Beyond Conquest: Native Peoples and the Struggle for History in New England, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2005) pg 82.  History.com Staff, “King Philip’s War”, History.com (2009). http://www.history.com/topics/native-american-history/king-philips-war  Christine DeLucia, “The Memory Frontier: Uncommon Pursuits of Past and Place in the Northeast After King Philip’s War,” Journal of American History 48, issue 4 (2012).  Ibid.  Jill LePore, “When Deer Island Was Turned into Devil’s Island.” Strangers in Our Land: The Invasion of Native New England, March 30, 2016. https://nativenewengland.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/when-deer-island-was-turned-into-devils-island/  Lisa Brooks, The Common Pot: The Recovery of Native Space in the Northeast, University of Minnesota Press, 2008. Pg 216
continued native presence in boston and beyond
The main campus of Northeastern University in Boston exists on the traditional land of the Massachusett, Wampanoag and Nipmuc peoples; however, Northeastern University bills itself as a global institution and has satellite campuses on the traditional lands of the Catawba in Charlotte NC, the Duwamish in Seattle WA, the Mississaugas in Toronto ON, and the Muwekma Ohlone in Silicon Valley CA. Students of Northeastern come from 48 of the 50 states in the U.S., bringing together students from traditional homelands of hundreds of Native American tribes. Although there has been a conscious effort by colonizing forces to erase the presence of Native peoples in Massachusetts and beyond, indigenous peoples are still here in Boston, Charlotte, Seattle, Toronto and Silicon Valley. One and a half miles from Northeastern’s main campus is the North American Indian Center of Boston. This center the oldest Native American center in New England, and a place to celebrate Native American culture while supporting the Native peoples of Boston with services including “child care, education, elder and family services, employment, healthcare, substance abuse treatment, nutrition counseling, legal aid, and transportation services” Powwows are planned across Boston including at Harvard University and UMass Boston as a way to connect with the tribes of Boston and the Northeast in addition to celebrating indigenous culture and peoples. Every year the Nipmuc tribe leads a “sacred run” and “sacred paddle” to Deer Island to observe the anniversary of internment of Nipmuc individuals on the island. What is important to understand here is that Native peoples have not disappeared from our society. Native peoples are fighting for the recognition, respect and rights that they deserve all around our Northeastern community. As Native peoples’ traditions and voices had been suppressed by States and other colonizing organizations, the impact on cultural traditions was keenly felt through the loss of elders and cultural knowledge. This loss of cultural knowledge is a continuation of the violence that was felt in Native communities hundreds of years ago. And yet, movements to revive, regain and continue Native traditions are prevalent across the Boston area. The Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project is one such effort to reclaim a language that had not been spoken fluently in six generations. Jessie “little doe” Baird, a Native linguist has created this project to “return fluency to the Wampanoag Nation as a principle means of expression.” Supporting indigenous heritage with the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project is furthermore a way to support the health of the community as recognizing and improving connections to cultural traditions helps children deal with social and education challenges. This is one step in reclaiming their cultural traditions and flouting the oft perceived absence of Native peoples in Massachusetts. Although Northeastern’s main campus is on Massachusett, Wampanoag and Nipmuc land, Native individuals in the region are a diverse group of people. Indigenous peoples have come to Boston from tribes, reservations and cities across North America. Even within the members of local tribes, identity of Native peoples can be challenging to immediately pick out as individuals range from darker skin to pale and blue eyed. Native peoples in Boston and across the country therefore do not have a defined “look” but instead are defined by their identity and culture. Native peoples can thus be a diverse group of individuals who are still fighting for their traditions and rights within the same space that Northeastern University occupies. This article mainly discusses actions in the Boston area, and yet, Native peoples are continuing these same fights across the U.S. and Canada—in and around all Northeastern campuses. Indigenous People’s Day would be one way to recognize and support the indigenous people challenging the misconception of disappearance in Massachusetts and beyond.
 A Beacon on South Huntington pg 16  http://hunap.harvard.edu/harvard-powwow http://www.indiancountrynews.com/index.php/news/indian-and-first-nations/10318-nipmuc-indians-honor-the-sacrifice-of-their-ancestors-during-king-philips-war  The Memory Frontier  http://www.indigenouspolitics.com/  http://www.wlrp.org/project-history.html  Preparing for a Wampanoag Language School on Cape Cod  Growing up Mashantucket Pequot