Kendall Currence Courageous Leader Northeastern Women’s Basketball
January 13, 2022
Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribal Member Kendall Currence in an article
By Boston Globe Reporter Greg Levinsky
January 7, 2022
Kendall Currence’s eyes lit up the moment she saw the feather. Three years old at the time of her Wampanoag naming ceremony, Currence recognized the feather in a tribal elder’s hand from speech therapy sessions for her cleft lip and palate. As her father tells it, Mashpee medicine man Guy Cash suggested the name Waapumeeqân, which means Rising Feather. “No one really knows that’s my real name, unless they ask,” Currence said. “I’ve just kind of had it, and it’s pretty cool. Everyone who is native has one. ”Currence, a 5-foot-8-inch senior guard on the Northeastern women’s basketball team, has undergone more than a dozen surgeries for the cleft lip and palate. She also has overcome three holes in her heart, a heart murmur, and a bicuspid aortic valve.
“I feel grateful and lucky to be here playing, especially with what I’ve gone through,” she said. “A lot of kids with cleft lip and palate can’t even talk, and a lot of people with heart problems can’t play sports, so I’d say I’m grateful.”
A member of the Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe, Currence was raised in Bourne on her tribe’s homeland. She’s known in basketball circles as one of the state’s all-time leading scorers at the high school level, and is now the leading scorer for the Huskies this season. A former Globe Super Teamer, Currence netted 2,310 points during an illustrious career at Falmouth Academy. She graduated in 2017 as the state’s ninth all-time leading scorer. Currence and her father, Troy, live on the homeland, which extends from Plymouth to towns on upper Cape Cod. Troy is the tribe’s medicine man and an IT technologist for the US Geological Survey. He has lived on the land since his parents returned there in 1986.Currence and her family are actively involved in the Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribal Community. She has danced at powwows across New England, volunteered at Plymoth Plantation as a guest interpreter, appeared on “60 Minutes” for a story on the Wampanoag Language Reclamation Project, and more.
Northeastern coach Bridgette Mitchell said she has appreciated learning about Currence, her family, and the Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribal Community. “Just hearing how interconnected their community is and how they support each other,” Mitchell said. “She’s super passionate about women and all that they go through, just from that perspective is something that I’ve learned. ”Kendall Currence and her father Troy during Wampanoag Day at Aptuxet trading post in Bourne. COURTESY KENDALL CURRENCE Former Northeastern coach Kelly Cole recruited Currence and coached her first three seasons. When Cole’s contract was not renewed last spring, Currence considered transferring — a “50/50 decision,” she said.She is flourishing now, though, in “a groove” in Mitchell’s system, averaging a career-high 15.4 points per game for the Huskies (7-4, 1-0 CAA). She dropped a career-best 27 points in Northeastern’s CAA opener. In many ways, as Currence goes, Northeastern goes. Mitchell said she often tells Currence “we’re tough because you’re tough. ”She’s the toughest mentally from all the things she’s been through, not to discredit anything that anyone else has been through,” Mitchell said. “It gives you a sense of ‘I get to do something that I really love, so let me play my hardest and do my best.’ She has that extra motivation.”