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Native Americans urge boycott of Plymouth Pilgrim museum

Mashpee Wampanoag Kerri Helme, of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, uses plant fiber to weave a basket while sitting next to a fire at the Wampanoag Homesite at the Plimoth Patuxet Museums on November 15, 2018.

PLYMOUTH, Mass. — Native Americans in Massachusetts are calling for a boycott of a popular living history museum featuring Colonial-era reenactors portraying life in Plymouth, the famous English settlement founded by the Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower.

Members of the state’s Wampanoag community and their supporters say Plimoth Patuxet Museums has not lived up to its promise of creating a “bi-cultural museum” that equally tells the story of the European and Indigenous peoples that lived there.

They say the “Historic Patuxet Homesite,” the portion of the mostly outdoor museum focused on traditional Indigenous life, is inadequately small, in need of repairs and staffed by workers who aren’t from local tribes.

“We’re saying don’t patronize them, don’t work over there,” said Camille Madison, a member of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe on Martha’s Vineyard, who was among those recently venting their frustrations on social media. “We don’t want to engage with them until they can find a way to respect Indigenous knowledge and experience.”

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