The Truro Historical Society (THS) supports the peaceful Black Lives Matter movement for racial justice that is taking place in the United States and around the world. “Liberty and justice for all” means justice for Black and Indigenous populations, and for all people of color.
Museums and archives are not neutral spaces. Because we interpret history, we have the responsibility of presenting the past as fully and accurately as possible, including painful and uncomfortable aspects. The past feeds into the present, and when a community actively engages with its past, it can use its understanding to make a better society.
Truro was founded on land that had been inhabited by Native People for thousands of years, but these people were displaced by English settlers. There were enslaved people and indentured laborers enduring near-slavery conditions in Truro. In 1754, the town’s first minister, Reverend John Avery, bequeathed to his children three African-American enslaved men and “my Indian Girl Sarah.”
After reflecting on the “settler privilege” that most of us enjoy, the THS decided in late 2019 to mark the 400thanniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival with a decolonial exhibition celebrating Truro’s first inhabitants, the Wampanoag Nation, from its origins to today. During the postponement caused by the coronavirus, the THS will continue to consult with Indigenous scholars and community members. We will increase our commitment to diversity and inclusion. As a token of our commitment, the THS wishes to share the Land Acknowledgment we have prepared in consultation with members of the Wampanoag Nation. This statement will stand at the entrance to the Highland House Museum’s permanent exhibition about the Paomet and the Wampanoag peoples.
The Highland House Museum stands on the traditional homeland of the Paomet Tribe, members of the Wampanoag Nation, who have inhabited Cape Cod for more than 12,000 years and who knew this part of Truro as Tashmuit. The Truro Historical Society acknowledges the displacement, suffering, and forced assimilation of the Wampanoag and other Native Peoples caused by European contact and colonization. We honor the struggles of the Wampanoag, People of the First Light, and support their resilience, and we ask museum visitors to reflect on our shared responsibility to maintain social justice.