The Little Compton Historical Society invites the community to take part in an online lecture and discussion exploring what is currently known about the history of the Sakonnet People.
Executive Director Marjory O’Toole will discuss the organization’s most recent research and will introduce the Historical Society’s important multi-year research effort, The Sakonnet History Project, during a Zoom at 7 PM on March 21. The talk is free and open to the public. Preregistration is required and can be done at www.littlecompton.org.
According to Ms. O’Toole, “Understanding and sharing the history of the Sakonnet People is a critical part of the Little Compton Historical Society’s mission. Scholars, including local historians, have written about the Sakonnets for generations, and we have inherited those histories. New research often builds on their work, but sometimes challenges it. Many of us already know that Little Compton and Acoaxet, Massachusetts, are the traditional homelands of the Sakonnet people. Many of us are familiar with Awashonks and her role as a Sakonnet sachem, but the Sakonnets’ story is so much more. What do we know about Mamanuah, or Takamona, or Bette Howdee and the historic roles they played? Where are the places traditionally called Tion Sunk or Toothos, and what did people do there in the 17th century? Why were the Sakonnets negotiating with Rhode Island at the same time Plymouth was buying their land? There is so much more to learn.”
In 2025 to commemorate the 350th anniversary of King Philip’s War and the English settlement of Little Compton, the Historical Society will share a book and a permanent exhibit entitled “A History of the Sakonnet People.” Between now and then, the Historical Society has committed to thoroughly researching their history and trying to connect with living people with Sakonnet ancestry. They are asking for the help of local tribal historians and scholars, and are currently working with Wôpanâak language speakers from the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project to better understand the Wôpanâak words found in the area’s earliest deeds and documents. The Society is reviewing the work of academic historians who have made important strides in this area and is conducting their own research. Importantly, they are also asking for the help of community members.
If you believe you have a document, an object, an image, or a story related to the Sakonnet people, past or present, please reach out to Executive Director, Marjory O’Toole at 401-635-4035 or firstname.lastname@example.org.