First Native Convert


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Indian Burial Broung, Chappaquiddick Island
Indian Burial Ground, Chappaquiddick Island

CHAPPAQUIDDICK is derived from the Wampanoag phrase "tchepi-aquidenet" which means "place of separate island". The Chappaquiddick Wampanaog once inhabited the entire island of Chappaquiddick.

It is well documented that the Chappaquiddick Wampanoag endured encroachment of their lands and discrimination from colonial times and throughout the late 1800s. During the 1700s, the land of the Chappaquiddicks was systematically encroached upon. The Chappaquiddicks made several petitions to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. A petition was also delivered to King George of England.  The colony was ordered to remedy the Wampanoags' complaints but, by that point, the white democratic colony weakened the king's power in Boston.
Al (Seawolfe) Curtis
Al (Seawolfe) Curtis
When the ancestral lands of the Chappaquiddick Wampanoag were initially divided in 1828, the best land was not given to the indigenous people.  The Earle Report documented that throughout the 1800s the Chappaquiddicks moved back and forth between Chappaquiddick Island and locations such as Oak Bluffs and New Bedford to take advantage of employment opportunities in surrounding New England towns. According to John Milton Earle, "…that (land) belonging to the (Chappaquiddick) Indians is bleak and exposed, the soil light, sandy, gravelly, and barren, and without wood…. Young men usually go to sea, or seek other employment, away from home, until they have obtained money enough to build them a comfortable house…"  That traditional pattern continued in the 20th century. While Chappaquiddick Wampanoag reside on Martha’s Vineyard, many tribal members settled within the ancestral homelands of the people of the Wampanoag Nation, traveling, as the seasons and their livelihoods permitted, to and from Martha's Vineyard and Chappaquiddick Island.
Prior to the land allotment to tribal members, according to the Massachuestts Act to Enfranchise Indians of 1869, the Chappaquiddick Wampanoag had two reservations on Chappaquiddick Island; the Cleared Lands Reservation on North Neck and the Woodlands Reservation. That land allotment lead to non-Indians taking possession of the majority of the Chappaquiddick ancestral lands.
Indian Cleared Land and Wood Land Reservations Map Chappaquiddick Island - circa. 1879

Map of Cleared Lands and Woodlands Reservations - 1869 Map of INDIAN LANDS AT CHABBAQUIDDICK (Chappaquiddick) MARTHA'S VINEYARD made under the direction of Joseph T. Pease and Richard L. Pease, Commissioner Appointed by the JUDGE OF PROBATE under Chapter 463 of the Acts of 1869

Scale 200 feet to an inch by John A. Mullin, Civil Engineer


Lots 1-139 were formerly Lot 36 (per 1828 Setoff) which was the entire reservation shown herein and is formerly referred to as (Indians Cleared land) per 1788 Legislative Set off containing 581 1/4 AC. 35 RDS. (RDS. displayed below the acres)

Lot 38 under 1828 Commissioners Setoff refers to a second reservation lying southerly off the first reservation near Sampson's Hill and known as (Indians Woodland) per 1788 Legislative Setoff containing 111 AC 66 RDS