Edgartown: Tribal Clans of Chappy


It might be my imagination, or it might be just because the Fourth of July week was crazy here, but the Island seems bearable this week. I have managed to find parking at the beach a couple of times, even though I arrived “late,” and when I was returning to town from the beach today, there was absolutely no traffic at the Triangle. It wasn’t a picture-perfect beach day, but I still would have expected some traffic on the way back. At any rate, I appreciated the relative quiet.

This is just a little reminder to Edgartown School families that report cards are ready to be picked up in the school front office.The office is open Monday through Thursday from 8 am until 1 pm. Some report cards will also include outstanding lunch bills, and it would be appreciated if you would kindly pay them off.

The eighth grade class would like to send out a big thank-you to everyone who helped make their annual Garden Tour a success last Wednesday. Ryan White of the Avant Gardener and Kate DeVane of Donaroma’s Landscaping were incredibly helpful with contacting property owners and bringing them on board for the event. So many people bought tickets to the event or donated money to support the Washington trip. And of course, the utmost appreciation goes out to the Jepsen, Doherty, Gage, Reed, Shane, and Hedley families, as well as the Edgartown Federated Church, for opening up their properties to the public to support the eighth grade. It is definitely not an exaggeration to say that the class couldn’t have done it without all of you.

Not many birthday wishes this week. Happy birthday to my cousin, Nancy Corwin, on July 15, and Shannon Morris on July 21. And extra-special birthday wishes with a side of “How did that happen?” go out to my boy Riley, who turns 18 on Saturday.

The Tribal Clans of the Chappaquiddick gathered this past week on ancestral lands for their annual meeting. The gathering began with a presentation and discussion on Wednesday, July 11, of Chappaquiddick artifacts and the current processes in place for preservation of artifacts across Martha’s Vineyard. The presentation was led by Holly Herbster, senior archaeologist at the Public Archaeology Laboratory. She provided a short overview of nearly 10,000 years of Native American history on Chappaquiddick as told from the archaeological record, and attendees were able to view some artifacts found on the island. Attendees also included Chappaquiddick Island residents, representatives of the town of Edgartown town administrator James Hagerty and selectman Arthur Smadbeck, as well as Martha’s Vineyard Museum staff.

On Thursday, July 12, the tribe met at their burial grounds to honor their ancestors and participate in a naming ceremony. After the ceremonies, the tribe and their guests enjoyed a potluck meal of traditional foods supplied by the community. After the meal, Chris Kennedy, superintendent for The Trustees of Reservations, discussed the ongoing conservation efforts on Chappaquiddick Island and how they have carried on the land management techniques used by native ancestors to ensure the continued biodiversity of the Island. Next on the agenda was a presentation on the Yale Indian Papers Project by Tobias Glaza, M.S., assistant executive editor, and Paul Grant-Costa, Ph.D., J.D., director and executive editor. Tribal project members Alexis Moreis, Aliya Shukura Rocker, and Stephainie (Penny) Johnson Jones presented the work to date, with their perspective of how the work has increased their understanding of the contact with the immigration of Europeans to native lands. The final presentation was from D. Rae Gould, Ph.D. (Nipmuc), UMass Amherst university tribal liaison and Department of Anthropology, and Alexis Moreis (Chappaquiddick-Wampanoag), UMass Amherst Native American Advisory Council tribal representative, for an open conversation on developing a community partnership with UMass Amherst and ways to improve student recruitment.

Again this year the tribal community was able to participate with land and kayak tours through The Trustees of Reservations on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. They were honored by the continued alliance between our communities.

That’s about all this week. Busy season equals slow news across my desk. I wish you all a wonderful week.