A Week to Remember
On Saturday, April 22, over 100 people came together at the Highland House Museum as the Truro Historical Society hosted the Mashpee Wampanoag tribal members, the Cape Cod National Seashore, Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore, and the community in a blessing of the land ceremony for the construction of the Wetu at the Highlands.
The ceremony began with a team of volunteers carrying large cedar saplings to the spot where the wetu will be built. Guy Cash, the Mashpee Medicine Man, led the ceremony by blessing the saplings with sage. Guy was joined by the Clan Mothers, tribal members, and Annawon Weeden, who will be building the structure.
Also recognized in the ceremony were the memories of Vernon Lopez, the late Mashpee tribal chief who recently died at age 100, and Susan Howe, Truro Historical Society President, who worked tirelessly with Helen McNeil-Ashton to bring a wetu on the museum grounds. A ‘Three Sisters Garden’ will also be dedicated to Susan Howe that will be located next to the Highland House Museum.
Charles “Chuck” Sams, Director of the National Park Service, attended the ceremony and addressed the participants. As the first Native American to serve as Director, Chuck spoke of the importance of the Wampanoag nation as People of the First Light to the members of his tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon. The wetu project will serve as a model for other collaborative efforts on National Park lands.
The participants were also blessed with sage and the event ended with a large circle dance, led by Annawon, Guy Cash, and the Clan Mothers.
Truro Central School Lends a Hand
Students, teachers, and administrators from the Truro Central School met at the Highland House Museum to help prepare the cedar saplings. Led by Annawon Weedon, the group learned how to peel bark from the saplings to form the final poles for the wetu and lash the poles together to form the structure. The day ended with a traditional Wampanoag circle dance.