Indian Country Issues Addressed at the Pequot Museum

MASHANTUCKET, CTMashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center invites the public to three panel discussions this fall about contemporary Native American issues. Each program is for ages 14 and older and costs $10 per person or $5 with a student ID. Museum admission is not required. For information, visitors may call (800) 411-9671.

The first, on Saturday, Sept. 27, 1-3 pm, focuses on “Cultural Appropriation, Stereotypes, and Indian Mascots.”

Will the Washington Redskins remain an official team name? How many children dress as Pocahontas on Halloween? These questions resonate with indigenous communities. Panelists Adrienne Keene (Cherokee), postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Indian Education, Arizona State University and Michael Taylor (Haudenosaunee), assistant professor of Anthropology and Native American Studies at Colgate University, discuss the issues.

The panel discussion, “Countering Columbus Day,” on Saturday, Oct. 25, 1-3 pm, highlights the concerns regarding Columbus Day.

For indigenous peoples of the Americas, Columbus Day is not a holiday, but a reminder of colonization. Panelists are: Ramona Peters (Mashpee Wampanoag), Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal historic preservation officer; J. Kehaulani Kauanui (Kanaka Maoli), associate professor of American Studies and Anthropology at Wesleyan University; and Jose Barreiro (Taino), assistant director for research, National Museum of the American Indian.

The third panel discussion, on Saturday, Nov. 22, 1-3 pm, is “Native New England Land Claims Settlement Acts”

More than 20 years have passed since the last land claims settlement involving a New England tribe. Tribal representatives and legal experts will explore the era during which the settlement acts originated, and how the acts are, or are not, working for tribes and states today. Panelists include Brenda Commander, Chief of the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, involved in negotiations and current challenges with Maine Settlement Acts; Henry Sockbeson (Penobscot), former attorney for the Native American Rights Fund , Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, and tribal judge for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe; Jackson King, General Counsel for Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, involved in negotiation of Settlement Act, and dealing with contemporary consequences of Settlement Act; Lorie Graham (Ojibway), Professor of Law, Suffolk University Law School, specializing in indigenous rights issues both within the United States and internationally; and representatives from the Narragansett Indian Tribe.

The September and October programs are sponsored by the Institute for New England Native American Studies. The November program is sponsored by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Program at UMass Boston, with additional support from the Indigenous Peoples Law Clinic of Suffolk University Law School, and the Harvard University Native American Program.

About the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center

The Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center, part of the government of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, is a non-profit educational institution that seeks to further knowledge and understanding of the richness and diversity of the indigenous cultures and societies of the United States and Canada. The Museum provides exhibits, programs, and research opportunities to encourage interaction with and among indigenous peoples, the general public, and the scholarly community. Visit:

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