We are the Wampanoag tribe of Plymouth Indians known Present-day as the Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe, also identified in historical documents as Comassakumkanit, Patuxet, the Herring Pond Indians, the Pondville Indians, Manomet, and The Praying Indians. We have lived on these lands for thousands of years. We are a tribal community whose ancestral lands are located at the heart (Ground Zero) of the long history of colonization and appropriation of indigenous lands in North America: Plymouth, Massachusetts. We have continued to live within our homeland, and today we continue our struggle to protect our cultural heritage and land rights as an indigenous people. Our sacred places include our cemeteries and our meetinghouse (Pondville Indian Church) located in Plymouth and Bourne.
To us, these are the places of our ancestors and we are obligated to protect and to preserve, for our children now and all of our descendants to come. As made clear over 150 years ago in what is known as the “Earle Report” (“Report to the Governor and Council, Concerning the Indians of the Commonwealth,” by John Milton Earle, submitted to the General Court in 1861), the Tribes of Massachusetts knew then that “the State has large funds drawn from the sale of lands which would have been theirs” (Earle Report, p. 13) among other historical documents.
The Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe has long known that their historical lands have been subjected to externally imposed processes intended to legitimize the taking of our lands, and to convey the idea that such processes are an inevitable aspect of European, and Euroamerican, “conquest.” However, we are not a “conquered” people, we are a resilient and determined people, well aware of our history and committed to preserving our tribal rights into the future. We now face the challenge of preserving what remains of our historical reservation lands which (post allotment) previously contained three separate parcels, mostly in Plymouth but partly in Bourne which in total was about 3,000 acres, namely the Great Lot (about 2,600 acres), the Meetinghouse Lot (about 200 acres) and the Herring River Lot know to the tribe in the 21st Century as “The Valley” (about 400 acres) of which most was lost, stolen, taken or conveyed for reasons unknown to the Tribe.
We are a resilient and determined people, well aware of our history! We will not be erased!