Aquinnah: Indigenous Artists Market

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— Kyra Steck

Thanksgiving can be a touchy subject in Aquinnah. For years, American schools and culture presented it as a harmonious event between two cultures when it really wasn’t. Many people see the story of Thanksgiving as part of the myth that erases Native American culture and ignores its genocide. To that end, the United American Indians of New England will host the 51st Annual “National Day of Mourning” on Nov. 26, at 12 pm, on Coles Hill in Plymouth. There will be a march with speakers, but no potluck as they have done in years past due to COVID-19. There will also be some online events if you cannot go in person. Check out their website at uaine.org. For people in town who do celebrate Thanksgiving, or see it as a time to gather with loved ones (please no one from out of town this year), or to count their blessings, I hope you have a delicious meal and a peaceful day.

Looking for ways to shop local this holiday season? There is a new online market happening this holiday season where you can get a lot of unique, handmade gifts. The Northeast Indigenous Artists Holiday Market is happening online from Nov. 27 to Dec. 11. Go to Facebook and enter the group name and you can shop Native artisans from all over the Northeast. The market was created by the Aquinnah Cultural Center and the Northeast Indigenous Arts Alliance, and they have some amazing artisans working with them, including many from Aquinnah.

“Vineyard Reads: Racial Justice” is a book discussion group started and facilitated by the Martha’s Vineyard Nonprofit Collaborative (MVNC) in collaboration with the West Tisbury library. The discussions focus on important readings that challenge views on race and bias. The second meeting of the book group will take place on Thursday, Dec. 3, at noon via Zoom. David Silverman’s “Faith and Boundaries” will be discussed, and he will participate in the discussion. The book examines the relationship between Wampanoags and the Christian colonists who settled here. This discussion series is part of MVNC’s series of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion anti-bias educational programs that aim to engage the Island community in productive conversations on racial attitude awareness, privilege, bias, institutional racism, and micro-inequities. The group is open and free to Vineyard nonprofit board members, staff, and volunteers, and any interested individuals in the Island community. If you would like to participate, email Jackie@mvnonprofits.org.

Healthy Aging Martha’s Vineyard (HAMV) has a 2020 Island-wide Older Adults survey underway, which has the endorsement of all six towns’ selectmen, and support from Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, Martha’s Vineyard Commission, and other service agencies. If you are 60-plus years old, they would like to hear from you. If you haven’t received a survey in the mail, please contact Cindy Trish, executive director, HAMV, at ctrish@hamv.org, or by phone, 508-693-7900, ext. 455. Printed surveys are also available at most libraries on the Island. You can also complete it online at hamv.org. The data collected in the survey helps Island groups provide for the needs of elders on the Island, and it is cited when soliciting funds via grants or federal programs.

Congratulations to two new board members of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services who also happen to be seasonal Aquinnah residents. Gary Foster is a film producer with an extensive filmography, including the 1993 classic “Sleepless in Seattle.” He also brings experience from serving on “The People Concern,” a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that seeks to permanently end homelessness, improve health, and build self-sufficiency among people living with severe mental illness. Howard Goldstein is a founder of MV Youth, and he is currently an advisory board member of the Westchester Community Foundation. He has also served on the board of the Make-a-Wish Foundation of the Hudson Valley. Welcome to Gary and Howard, and thank you for sharing your skills and time with MVCS.

My neighbors, Walter and Clara Ricciardi, have sold their house in Ridgewood, N.J., and are now here in Aquinnah full-time officially. They have been here unofficially full-time since the start of the pandemic, and they have been having such a good time that they decided to make it permanent. Welcome, we are glad you made the move. Happy Birthday to Ella and Emerson’s dad, Michael Mahoney, who celebrates on Wednesday; to Keren Tonneson, who celebrates on Thursday; and to Kate Murphy Kausch (Sammy and Noah’s mom), who celebrates on Friday.

If you have any Aquinnah Town Column suggestions, email Molly Purves, mlpurves@yahoo.com.