Mashantucket Pequot Museum Library and Archives Blog

Friday, February 7, 2014

Rachel Sayet

Moshup: Enduring Aquinnah Wampanoag Stories

Fortunately the snow held off on Saturday, January 25, when Rachel Sayet gave an excellent talk based her extensive research about Moshup which culminated in her Master’s thesis from Harvard University Extension. As a young girl living at Mohegan, Rachel learned traditional stories of giants and little people from her elders. The giant, Moshup, is always connected to the land and sea of southern New England. Mohegan and Pequot people as well as Aquinnah and Mashpee Wampanoags have many stories about Moshup which have been passed down for hundreds of years. In the 1920s, Rachel’s great-aunt Gladys Tantaquidgeon began recording Moshup stories among the Aquinnah of Martha’s Vineyard. Rachel demonstrated that while many different people have recorded Moshup stories, each from a unique perspective and for different purposes, these stories have always connected the Aquinnah Wampanoag people to the landscape, thereby reinforcing sovereignty for their nation and ensuring their survival. Rachel’s engaging presentation was well received by an interested and thoughtful audience in the Research Library. 

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