Nonotuck Resource Associates, Inc. was honored to recently host Native American educator Annawon Weeden in celebration of Native American Heritage Month. Weeden spoke at length on Native American history, American history, cultural appropriation, and growing up Native in a predominately white culture, and the conflict between publicly taught history and correct historical narratives.
“If folks can just imagine how difficult it has been for an individual like myself, to pretty much have to unlearn everything I was taught in school. I was pretty much denied my history throughout my entire life, particularly close to my school years,” he said, adding: “It’s really demoralizing, when you're literally in school being denied your identity.”
Weeden encouraged program participates to embrace discomfort in the topics he discussed, in hopes of learning and growing from the experience.
Born & raised on the Narragansett Tribal reservation in Charlestown Rhode Island(father’s line), Annawon eventually made his home in his mother’s Wampanoag community located in Mashpee, MA.
Six feet, 4 inches tall, Weeden is named for the last Wampanoag warrior to surrender to the colonial army after King Philip's War in 1676. A traditional dancer, drummer and defender of his culture, Annawon is citizen of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe of his mother’s tribe. He is also related to Narragansett and Pequot tribe through his father.
Following in his father Tall Oak's footsteps, Annawon began sharing the culture of his tribes with his family during public programs and performances at a very young age. As an adult, Annawon's passion for preserving the culture has been clear throughout decades spent working at Plimoth Plantation (Museum Interpreter/Outreach Educator) and Boston Children’s Museum.
Although many have witnessed the accomplishments and contributions made throughout his journey, in October of 2016 Congressman James “Jim” Langevin took special notice and decided to commemorate the life efforts of Annawon, awarding him with a Congressional Honor as Culture Bearer for the entire New England region during the Tomaquag Museum Annual Honoring reception.
Currently self-employed, Annawon dedicates much of his time visiting schools, colleges, museums, libraries, birthdays, corporations and more, as he continues his efforts to correct misinformation and misrepresentation of indigenous people. Annawon has found many ways to educate any audience. On stage or in the classroom, his ability to share his tribal culture has been sought after by many institutions such as: Smithsonian, National Geographic, Scholastic, PBS, History/Discovery Channel, Harvard, Nike, Reebok, & many other corporate, educational and environmental organizations.
Learn how Nonotuck developed a love-based ideology of care. We started our shared living program as an alternative to group homes for people with disabilities. Instead, Shared Living creates genuine life transformation for people with disabilities, as well as families and communities. The true power of caregiving is found through hospitality, authenticity, and love.