Pequot Warriors Combating Paper Genocide: How the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation Uses Education to Resist Cultural Erasure
Keywords:Tribal Nations, land-based education, decolonization, archaeology
This paper analyzes the southeastern Connecticut Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation‘s battle with cultural erasure and resistance through education. Indigenous education programs are gradual yet the most effective method of resisting Western cultural erasure from the United States government, because they peacefully invite both Natives and non-Natives to learn about Native American history outside of European colonizer textbooks. The Tribe battles the erasure that can result from external parties‘ ability to grant state or federal titles recognizing tribal authority (known as recognition titles) to determine who receives the powerful stamp of Indigeneity and the right to self- govern. My case study focuses on the Eastern Pequots Archaeology Field School project in collaboration with University of Massachusetts, Boston. I evaluate how the Eastern Pequots use a collaborative archaeology education program with their Tribal members and non-Native individuals to resist erasure by decolonizing Western pedagogy. The Field School has gathered over 99,000 artifacts over 15 seasons that dismantle common misconceptions of how Native Americans lived during the beginning of the United States‘ history and redefine modern beliefs about how Natives survived European colonization. The Field School contributes to expanding brief descriptions of Native history into a more complicated and dynamic story that elaborates on Native struggle, survival and resistance.