The death of June Manning, a Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) elder and beloved member of the Martha’s Vineyard community, was on the minds of the Aquinnah select board as they met on Tuesday. Board members held a moment of silence and offered their own remembrances of Manning.
“We received some sad news today that our good friend, colleague, and town elder June Manning has passed. June was on several boards and committees here in Aquinnah, and Island-wide. She’s especially known for her Council on Aging situation meetings,” Aquinnah select board chair Gary Haley said. “She will be missed.”
“The loss of June Manning is unbearable, really. She has been the glue that kept this community together for years. All of my family, who’s off-Island, read her column every week, and have been sending messages. There have been hundreds and hundreds of comments on Facebook and whatnot,” Aquinnah select board member Tom Murphy said. “It’s a devastating loss for our community, especially for the Manning family … I want to express my deepest sympathy.”
“This is a generation we’re watching pass over us,” Aquinnah select board member Juli Vanderhoop said. “For those of us who’ve lived in this community for all of our lives, these are people that have watched over us, and are leaving their stories with us to be carried, and the responsibilities of this community, Martha’s Vineyard, with us. And the burden is very heavy, and I would like to say the same [condolences] to the Manning family.”
Aquinnah town administrator Jeffrey Madison suggested postponing the select board meeting to Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 4:30 pm, because of a fire ceremony, a Wampanoag tradition, scheduled at Manning’s house. Madison said postponing the meeting would allow people who would like to attend the traditional fire to go. The select board voted unanimously to postpone the meeting.
Vanderhoop is currently in New York, and was unable to attend the ceremony, but she said she is lighting candles with her daughter in honor of Manning.