A protest in support of the Pokanoket Nation and the Po Metacom Camp. Photo: Po Metacom Camp

Pokanoket Nation signs agreement to preserve ancestral land in Rhode Island

The Pokanoket Nation is ending a month-long encampment on ancestral territory after reaching an agreement with Brown University in Rhode Island.

Tribal citizens and supporters started the Po Metacom Camp on August 20. They said the 375-acre parcel, which houses the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology's Collections Research Center, rightfully belongs to the Pokanoket Nation.

Brown acknowledges the tribe's claim in the agreement, which requires a portion of the property to be turned into a preservation trust. The Pokanoket Nation will work with other Wampanoag tribes to set up a governing structure to manage the land.

“We have worked together with the encamped Pokanoket people in good faith to address their concerns in ways responsive to the concerns of other tribes as well, which was a foremost priority for Brown,” Russell Carey, the executive vice president for planning and policy at Brown, said in a press release. “We’re very pleased that the Pokanoket have agreed to engage other Native tribes to establish a trust that will both preserve this land and ensure sustainable access to its sacred sites in a way that is inclusive of other Native peoples. This was Brown’s goal.”

The land is about half-hour drive from Brown University's main campus in Providence and is part of an area known to the Wampanoag people as Potumtuk. A Pokanoket village is located there and it served as a lookout due to the high elevation at Mount Hope.

Metacomet, a Wampanoag leader also known as Metacom, frequently held meetings in Potumtuk. He was killed at Mount Hope in 1676 during King Philip's War.

The Wampanoag people and their allies in the Narragansett Tribe suffered huge losses before, during and after the war as European colonists claimed their homelands.

Read More on the Story:
Pokanoket Tribe, Brown University reach deal on Bristol land dispute (The Providence Journal September 25, 2017)
Brown and Pokanoket Reach Agreement on Preservation and Tribal Access to Bristol Land (GoLocalProv September 25, 2017)
Brown University Reaches Agreement With Protestors Over Tribal Lands (Rhode Island Public Radio September 25, 2017)
Brown U. and Native American Tribe End Standoff Over Land (The Chronicle of Higher Education September 25, 2017)
Brown, Pokanoket Tribe Reach Deal to End Occupation (ecoRI September 26, 2017)

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Pokanoket Nation establishes encampment on land owned by Brown University (August 21, 2017)

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