Updates

Statement of Support from Direct Action for Rights and Equality

In solidarity with the Po Metacom Camp and The FANG Collective, from the DARE Board:

September 12, 2017

On Sunday, August 20th, 2017, the Pokanoket Nation launched an encampment at Potumtuk in Bristol, Rhode Island to reclaim their sacred land from Brown University. Members of the tribe along with allies set up camp on the land with the goal of having Brown University give back the land to the Pokanoket Nation. This encampment has been named the Po Metacom Camp.

DARE writes in recognition of this effort to decolonize Potumtuk and return sovereignty to the hands of the Pokanoket Nation. We are especially proud to support an action in our home state that directly affects our own members, several of whom are participating in this action as Pokanoket tribal members and as allies.

DARE understands this struggle for indigenous land rights as deeply intertwined with our long fight to end racialized displacement in Rhode Island. Centuries of wealth hoarding, policing, and gentrification by Brown University have robbed many low-income Rhode Islanders of their homes, too. We stand with the Pokanoket in the work of holding this institution accountable. We condemn the efforts of Brown University administrators and professors to not only discredit the tribe’s historical and moral right to the land but also denigrate FANG Collective, which has spent years building strong relationships with local organizers and BIPOC communities in Rhode Island. That Native American and Indigenous Studies at Brown would ask university members to withhold funding from the Pokanoket Nation and local organizers suggests deep thoughtlessness about how this university has accumulated its wealth at the expense of surrounding communities.

DARE’s powerful community will continue to support the Po Metacom Camp and the work of FANG Collective. We urge Brown University to recognize the Pokanoket Nation’s right to the land by promptly returning Potumtuk to its rightful stewards. We stand firm with the Pokanoket Nation!

#StandFirm #PoMetacomCamp

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September 6th Statement from Po Wauipi Neimpaug,
Sagamore of the Pokanoket Nation

In response to inquiries regarding Brown University’s August 31st, 2017 public statement, the Pokanoket Tribe has indeed turned down the first proposal that was offered by the University.  The Pokanoket Tribe was concerned with the assertion that while in its own ancestral lands other tribes, most of whom have already been designated reservation lands for their own administration and use, would be able to dictate when and how the Pokanoket Tribe would steward its own ancestral lands. For those who are familiar with traditional tribal law and relations, a sovereign Tribe or Nation is imbued with the right to make decisions about its own lands free from interference by other tribes, nations or entities. The Pokanoket Tribe stands by and upholds this right.

Since the August 31st response the Pokanoket Tribe held a third meeting with officials from Brown University on Friday September 1st, 2017 to continue the process of negotiating an amicable resolution to the Po Metacom encampment of the lands of Potumtuk.  Ongoing dialogue with Brown University was initially believed to be quite productive and the Pokanoket Tribe believed that they and Brown University were much closer to negotiating a mutually acceptable agreement that would satisfy both the Pokanoket Tribe and Brown University’s interests in this matter. However recent communications from Brown, including emails sent out to their own student body on September 2nd, 2017 and pamphlets passed out by Brown faculty to new students during commencement on September 5th, 2017, are forcing the Pokanoket Tribe to reassess Brown University’s good faith commitment.

Since the August 28th 2017 meeting the Pokanoket Tribe has repeatedly requested that Brown University convene a meeting with the Tribes that have expressed claims to the lands of Potumtuk. These Tribes include the Mashpee, Gay Head, Aquina and Assonet tribes of Wampanoag heritage to once and for all lay the controversy to rest over who the proper, historical and rightful stewards of the lands of Potumtuk are. While Brown University has verbally agreed to convene this meeting at the request of the Pokanoket Tribe, the University has also disingenuously continued to publicly present the Pokanoket Tribe as an unwilling partner in these regards, rather than the instigators of this meeting. In this capacity, the Pokanoket Tribe does now publicly request that Brown University convene said meeting so that this controversy can be laid to rest for once and for all.

In closing, the Pokanoket Tribe would like to extend sincere gratitude to all who have continued to support their lawful right to reclaim their ancestral lands, and is confident that a positive and productive resolution will soon be reached that will both uphold the law and preserve the Pokanoket Tribe’s ancestral lands for now and for future generations.

Po Wauipi Neimpaug

Sagamore of the Pokanoket Nation

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August 27th Statement from Po Wauipi Neimpaug,
Sagamore of the Pokanoket Nation

After much reflection I would like to make a statement in regards to Brown University’s so-called expert “knowledge” of my people. I am not surprised at the statements that Brown University has made in regards to our people as a result of us standing on our sacred land. It is once again the colonial tactic of divide, conquer and confuse indigenous peoples.

Our history is an oral history, this is the way of our people. Brown University’s statement is without merit and based on historical misinformation. We refuse to be forced to justify our tribal status or conform to how any institution sees fit to define who we are. It is not up to any institution to tell indigenous people who are not federally recognized that they are not a tribe. Nor is it the call of any group connected to them by being on their payroll or by receiving other benefits to make this call. Furthermore, there is an obvious conflict of interest by peoples whose welfare and dependence on federal authorities to make that call either. Most tribes in this land are not federally recognized and their existence is not based on the whims of Brown University or any institution’s stamp of approval.

We stand firm in our knowledge of what has been passed down to us by our ancestors. We have held strong and will continue to do so. We thank those who have seen beyond this divisive tactic and support us. We ask our brothers and sisters who have questions to cut out the white man, his ways, his tactics, and his institutions. Contact us – indigenous to indigenous. Come let us make a tobacco offering and sit around the sacred fire. This is the way of our people.

A’ho

Po Wauipi Neimpaug
Sagamore of the Pokanoket Nation

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August 27th Statement from Chief Sequan Pijaki and the Pocasset Tribe

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August 25th Statement from the Pokanoket Nation

 

 

 

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August 25th Statement from the Federation of Aboriginal Nations of America

 

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August 25th Statement from the FANG Collective