Indian Circus Held in Mashpee

The Cape Cod Times had a picture of a little girl on the front page with a rawhide head band on. That was the first official photo of the 2011 Mashpee Wampanoag Pow Wow. Not a single Mashpee Wampanoag could identify her. Not a single Mashpee Wampanoag could identify her…..period. Not by family resemblance, not by regalia. Any Mashpee looking at the newspaper website online photos was horrified by the photos because out of about 15 pictures only 2 could be identified as Mashpee.
The prediction came true, the city people had erased us. They allowed people to show up wearing costumes, imitating Indians. It was the ultimate insult. Again, no tribal identification to verify heritage. People all over the place were playing Indian. Worse than any other pow wow. Other tribes were praised and honored on our sacred grounds for three days….’The great Shennecock Nation’ was repeated over and over by the MC… the chagrin of the few members present. Even the children took note.
The Mashpee had stopped coming to their cherished homecoming celebration. The event they used to plan for meticulously the day after it was over, has become a cheap Indian Circus. It was reduced to people imitating Indians in “costumes” and very very few Wampanoag in attendance. The few Mashpee that showed up muttered “this is awful.” They had so few adult dancers they were dancing the kids into the ground for 3 days. “Hoka.” We won’t talk about where the prize money went and to whom. Guess who the host drum was…right the Shennecocks….they were…….downright awful.
Driving into the parking lot was frightening. A rough crowd was in charge. The warmth and hospitality of the event was replaced with chaos, clutter, tents everywhere and no security. You felt like you needed protection from the people in charge, whoever they were. There were a couple of tribal members children on the gate and they were 13 years old. Once you got inside the parking lot….that was something else altogether. Tribal members would come in and they would get the hell out ….fast….and then there were those who just did not show up. There were hundreds of the “not show uppers.”
The transition to the Indian Circus meant June did not do the Clam bake…..the first time in the history of the pow wow where there was no bake.
We should not hang our heads about what was in the newspaper. The real Mashpee did not support the Indian Circus and it was their decision. For everyone who thought that being Mashpee just came naturally….well now you know don’t you? We don’t wear costumes and stupid headdresses. A Pow Wow is one thing and an Indian Circus is something altogether different ain’t it bird?