On Saturday, September 21, 2019 Historic Huguenot Street will be hosting an evening program focused on the history and culture of the Munsee and Mohican people. The program will additionally highlight the efforts and accomplishments of Chief Hendrick Aupaumut. The evening will include an exhibit viewing of Munsee artifacts and a letter written by Aupaumut, an opportunity to explore HHS¹s replica wigwam, complimentary tasting of indigenous herbal tea, a reading of Aupaumut¹s letter by a member of the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, an educational lecture presented by Indigenous Studies scholar Dr. Lisa Brooks, and participatory breakout sessions where attendees will be able to discuss specific topics with cultural representatives, researchers, and scholars.
The program will begin at 4:00 PM, at which time attendees will be asked to check-in at the Visitor Center. Here, guests will be able to view the letter written by Chief Hendrick Aupaumut to the New York State Legislature (circa 1790), as well as several cases of Munsee archaeological artifacts.
Outside of the Visitor Center, an interpreter will provide information about HHS¹s replica Esopus Munsee wigwam, which was constructed in 2017. Guests will have the opportunity to learn about the wigwam¹s construction, as well as the history and cultural of the people who lived here long before the European colonists arrived.
At 4:30 PM attendees will be encouraged to make their way to the outdoor event tent, where they may sample indigenous herbal tea before finding a seat for the program.
Presentations will begin a 4:45 PM when the Executive Director of HHS, Liselle LaFrance, will gift a reproduction of the Aupaumut letter preserved in the archives of HHS to representatives of the Stockbridge-Munsee Community of Mohican Indians. A representative will then read the letter aloud to the audience, prior to introducing the evening¹s speaker.
Dr. Lisa Brooks, who recently won the Bancroft Award for History, will present her lecture, "Brotherhood and Belonging: Hendrick Aupaumut¹s Assertion of Indigenous Rights and Settler Responsibility,² starting at approximately 5:00 PM. This talk will center around an important document, written by Aupaumut and held by Historic Huguenot Street, to frame a wider context of Indigenous rights, relationships, and writing in the late 18th century. At the conclusion of her lecture, Dr. Brooks will take questions from the audience.
At approximately 6:00 PM, there will be three breakout sessions which will happen simultaneously. These breakout sessions will take place under the same outdoor event tent and will be hosted by cultural representatives, researchers, and scholars.
The breakout sessions will last approximately 20 minutes and are as follows:
(1) Session Hosts: Dr. Brooks and HHS Staff
Attendees can ask Dr. Brooks questions related to her research and the legacy of Hendrick Aupaumut. She will be joined by members of the curatorial team who can speak to the letter¹s significance to HHS¹s collection as well as provide information on how scholars and researchers can use HHS¹s collections.
(2) Session Hosts: Justin Wexler and Anna Plattner, founders of Wild Hudson Valley
In this session, Justin and Anna will reference where the Munsee may have found the very plants, herbs, and other ingredients used in their traditional footways, including the indigenous herbal tea available to guests.
(3) Session Hosts: Stockbridge-Munsee Community Representative sent by the Tribal Council and Bonney Hartley, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Stockbridge-Munsee Community and an HHS Board Member
The final session will revolve around the preservation and protection of Munsee and Mohican culture. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask about Bonney's work and her relationship with HHS. Attendees will also be able to ask questions about the Stockbridge-Munsee Community today and the work being done to preserve their cultural past and present.
Image credit: HHS Archives, Gift of Mary Frances Stokes-Jansen & Richard Stokes