(Above) Page from the bible translated into Wôpanâak by John Eliot in 1663. The existence of this bible and other legal documents written in Wôpanâak has made the reclamation of this once lost language possible.
“We are here," they said. This sacred message was given to jessie 'little doe' baird in Wôpanâak (Wampanoag language) during the same dream for three nights in a row. During the dream she saw the same circle of faces...faces of her ancestors. At that time, she knew nothing of her people's language but little doe wondered if the words were in Wampanoag, the language of her ancestors. Thus began a journey that, through the joint collaborative efforts of the Mashpee, Aquinnah, Assonet & Herring Pond Wampanoag communities, led to the birth of the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project (WLRP), a project that, after more than 150 years of dormancy, is bringing back to life the tribes' sacred privilege and right -- their ancestral language.
“Reclaiming our language is one means of repairing the broken circle of cultural loss and pain. To be able to understand and speak our language means to see the world as our families did for centuries. This is but one path which keeps us connected to our people, the earth, and the philosophies and truths given to us by the Creator.”
-- jessie ‘little doe’ baird, Project Founder
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