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Meet Native America: Jonathan Perry, Aquinnah Wampanoag





The National Museum of the American Indian continues its "Meet Native America" series with Jonathan Perry, a council member for the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts:
How did your life experience prepare you to lead your tribe/band/Native community?

I spent a lot of time in my community and other Native communities, participating in gatherings, celebrations, and ceremonies. It gave me the opportunity to learn from elders and knowledge keepers. It instilled in me a great appreciation for our societies, and therefore encouraged me to gain an understanding and work towards strengthening our tribal nation. I have extensively studied our traditional government structure and leadership roles, and try to impart that quality into my own leadership position.

Who inspired you as a mentor?

I have been inspired by many people who have represented our Wampanoag Nation and eastern Native people in a strong, positive light. Some of those people have crossed over, and it is now our responsibility to be the inspirations and the mentors. I never had just one mentor, I had a community of them. The ones who immediately come to mind are the late Chief Donald Malonson, from the Aquinnah Wampanoag Nation; the late Tony Pollard, widely known as Nanepashemet, an author, artist, historian and relative; and the late Alice Lopez, from the Mashpee Wampanoag Nation, a greatly respected woman who valued community strength and traditions. The list goes on.

Get the Story:
Councilman Jonathan Perry, Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) (NMAI Blog 6/20)

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NMAI opens 'Meet Native America' series with Navajo leader (6/13)