Indigenous Peoples’ Day in East Lyme

Actions Panel

Indigenous Peoples’ Day in East Lyme

The Nehantic Nation and the East Lyme Historical Society are collaborating to organize their second annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day program.

When and where

Date and time

Location

McCook Point Park Columbus Avenue East Lyme, CT 06357

Map and directions

How to get there

About this event

The Nehantic Nation and the East Lyme Historical Society are collaborating to organize their second annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day program at McCook Park in Niantic, Connecticut on Sunday, October 9 from 12pm-4pm

The Nehantic people have a deep history in this region, extending back thousands of years. Their population once numbered in the thousands, but European colonization led to devastating population loss due to deadly epidemics. Reservation lands were set aside for the Nehantics on Black Point, but life on the reservation was not sustainable and many Nehantics migrated to urban centers throughout the Northeast to find employment, while others joined the Brothertown communities first in upstate New York then in Wisconsin.

In recent years, the Nehantic people have held annual gatherings under the Sturgeon moon in August, bringing widespread families back to their homelands. Today the Nehantics are dedicated to promoting the conservation and continuation of their tribal culture and history, and promoting the social and cultural well-being of Nehantic descendants.

This year’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day program at McCook Park will feature a presentation at 12 pm by historian James T. Powers on the Quinnipiac people; their history, diaspora, and the creation of a museum dedicated to their legacy. At 1 pm members of the Nehantic tribal council and noted historian Dr. John Pfeiffer will lead a walking tour with a discussion of Nehantic history. The program will include family-friendly activities throughout the afternoon. Young people will go on a scavenger hunt to learn about Nehantic names, make their own traditionally-inspired pottery decorated with scallop shell impressions, and hear stories written by Indigenous authors. The Humble Spirit drum group will once again perform, bringing traditional music to the park.

McCook Park is adjacent to Niantic Bay, with a view of Wigwam Rock, where historically the Nehantics lit a fire to call their people together. Today the goal is to bring community members together to learn about Nehantic history and culture at a fun, family-friendly event.

This program is free and open to the public. It is made possible thanks to generous contributions by the Nehantic Nation, the East Lyme Historical Society, the East Lyme Public Library, the Southeastern Connecticut Organization for Racial Equity, Niantic Community Church, the Town of East Lyme Parks and Recreation, and individual community members.