Mount Wachusett Community College’s Tea Time Speaker Series will host a panel discussion highlighting indigenous peoples and Native American Indians on Monday, April 30 from 12 to 2 p.m.
“Together we will listen as members of the Cherokee, Nimpuc, Taíno, Pocasset Wampanoag, and Mashantucket Pequot tribes and a researcher share their cultural experiences, life stories, and obstacles of indigenous peoples and Native American Indians,” said Sharmese Gunn who organizes the speaker series.
The Tea Time Speaker Series fosters conversation among the college community and surrounding community on social and cultural issues and awareness. The panel will educate listeners about history as well as other issues such as cultural appropriation and racism. Marcus Williams, who is an assistant Director of Strategic Enrollment Management at MWCC and part of the Nipmuc tribe, will moderate the panel.
The panel will include:
- Rosa Fernandez-Penaloza is the Director of Community Health Improvement for UMass Memorial Health Alliance Clinton. She is part of the Taíno Indian Tribe.
- Laurie Occhipinti who is a cultural anthropologist who has spent many years studying issues faced by indigenous peoples in Latin America. She has worked in both the highland Andes mountains in South America and in lowland Argentina, and has been particularly interested in issues of poverty and social change, cultural identity, and indigenous rights.
- Chief Sequan Pijakì, also known as” Chief George Spring Buffalo,” is the chairman of the council of chiefs of the Pocasset Wampanoag Tribe of the Pokanoket Nation. He has worked to bring acknowledgement to the heritage and culture of his people in the ways his ancestors did when they lived and walked the lands.
- Shauna Lee Manning, M.Ed., is a staff member at the University of Massachusetts Boston in the American Studies Department. She has Cherokee and Muscogee Creek ancestry from the southeastern U.S. Her passion is Native American history and culture, which she enjoys sharing with others.
The Tea Time Speaker Series is sponsored by: Gateway to College, Mount Wachusett Community College’s Leading for Change Diversity Consortium, The North Central Massachusetts Minority Coalition/Three Pyramids, Inc., and The MWCC Humanities Project which has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.