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Nookumuhs – made her maiden voyage!
Nookumuhs is the Pequot word for “my grandmother” and is the name given to the mishoon, a traditional dugout canoe, constructed on the Pequot Museum’s farmstead this spring. Our Mission Mishoon Project represents a cultural resurgence in a new area of “reclaiming the waterways.” Therefore, Nookumuhs or Grandmother, symbolizes the matriarch of a cultural movement that will hopefully continue to grow.
Wampanoag canoe makers, Jonathan Perry, traditional artist and culture bearer at Martha's Vineyard Aquinnah Cultural Center, and Darius Coombs, associate director of the Wampanoag Indigenous Program, guided the construction with volunteer assistance from members of several Native American communities. This was the largest mishoon made in the traditional method of burning and hand scraping in over 200 years.
On August 8, 2015, Nookumuhs made her maiden voyage from the Mystic Seaport to Noank and back, paddled by 12 representatives from 6 New England tribes; the Mashantucket Pequots, the Narragansetts, the Schaghticokes, the Passamaquoddy, and Aquinnah and Mashpee Wampanoags and the Shinnecocks from Long Island.
As part of the celebration launch, an educational and member event exhibition featuring Native artists, drummers and our very own team of archaeologists and experts answering questions and highlighting the historical significance of this area.
The Mystic river connects three of the Nation’s oldest Indian Reservations, from the headwaters near the Mashantucket Pequot and Eastern Pequot Reservations to the river’s mouth where the first Pequot reservation at Noank was located. The paddle will also acknowledge the 1637 “Mystic Massacre” on Pequot Hill, one of the most significant and controversial events in early American history. In subsequent centuries, as Indians lost rights to their lands, many turned to maritime labor. Mystic, CT became an important place where many Native people went to find work on commercial and whaling vessels. The Mishoon paddle is meant to educate the public about these hidden histories and to demonstrate that rich cultural traditions in the region persist.
For videos and photos of this event, please click here.
Additionally, we have created a virtual exhibit entitled, “Reclaiming the Waterways: Mission Mishoon—The Dugout Canoe of the Pequots" that is hosted on the Google Cultural Institute platform. The online exhibit discusses the modern discovery of dugout canoes in lakes and rivers, the role of mishoons in Pequot society and so much more. To view, please click here.
Artists-in-Residence: Calling Native artists
The Pequot Museum is now offering studio work space to Native artists free of charge on a first come, first serve basis. As an Artist-in-Residence, you can demonstrate your process to visitors, show your work, and help us design a retail option for selling your work. Download a space request form.
For more information contact: