November is National Indian Heritage Month and many institutions nationwide join in paying tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans. Each year, the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington Connecticut organizes special programs that highlight the rich cultural diversity and traditions of Native American communities through hands-on activities, arts and crafts, exhibits, music, and interactive programs.
This year’s highlight of National Indian Heritage Month at the Institute for American Indian Studies will be a highly interactive program by actor, activist, dancer, and Tribal mentor, Annawon Weeden. This special program will take place at 1 p.m. on November 16. Weeden is the founder of the First Light Foundation whose mission is to highlight the importance of preserving and celebrating diversity to reinforce the identity of each individual served.
Persuasive and powerful, authentic and imaginative, the stories and performance of Annawon Weeden reveal the unexpected ways Native Americans are embedded in our cultural identity as well as in our pop culture, sometimes accurately, and sometimes erroneously. Drawing on his Mashpee Wampanoag, Narragansett, and Pequot lineage, Weeden will explore the pre- European Tribal history of the People of the Dawn and share his personal experiences and insights. Through this interactive program, visitors will walk through time with Weeden and discover that Native American cultures are alive and well today, thriving and evolving across the United States. This program helps to foster a better understanding of Native American culture and traditions while dispelling some of the historical misinterpretations.
About The Institute for American Indian Studies
Located on 15 acres of woodland acres the Institute For American Indian Studies preserves and educates through archeology, research, exhibitions, and programs. They have a 16th c. Algonquian Village, Award-Winning Wigwam Escape, and a museum with temporary and permanent displays of authentic artifacts from prehistory to the present that allows visitors to foster a new understanding of the world and the history and culture of Native Americans. The Institute for American Indian Studies is located on 38 Curtis Road, Washington, CT.
About Annawon Weeden
Weeden is an enrolled member of his mother’s Mashpee Wampanoag tribal community. He currently works in the MPTN Cultural Resource Department as the Eastern Woodland song/dance instructor for his father’s Mashantucket Pequot Tribal community.
Growing up on the Narragansett reservation he was instructed on the traditional dances and customs of New England’s Native American Communities. As an adult, Weeden has developed a comprehensive knowledge of the vast diversity of native customs and traditions.
In October 2016, Congressman James Langevin took special notice of Weeden and decided to commemorate the life efforts of Weeden awarding him with a Congressional Honor as Culture Bearer for the entire New England Region.
Weeden’s knowledge of indigenous people and his ability to share his tribal culture is highly sought because it educational and inspiring.