I grew up on Martha’s Vineyard, and I am a member of the Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah. Our families have lived here for more than 10,000 years, and the diverse community of Aquinnah has shaped me into what I am today. I graduated from the Martha’s Vineyard High School and recently from the University of Vermont, where I majored in anthropology with a minor in environmental studies; both are relevant when focusing on sustaining the island culture and protecting the natural habitat.
For the past few summers I have been working with the Wampanoag Tribe in the Natural Resources Department. I was fortunate to work in the laboratory, where I tested water and learned about our local ponds. I have also had the chance to work with the Aquinnah Cultural Center, a living museum of my people. At the Aquinnah Cultural Center I shared Wampanoag history with island visitors and informed others about our continuing traditions. Being able to ensure safe water on the island and more importantly, for my tribe, is important to me. Not only does the tribe thrive on the natural resources of our island, so too does the greater community. Interlacing our history and current traditions with the environment is what will sustain Martha’s Vineyard, and I hope to continue teaching others in both the native and non-native community about my people and the island we live on.