Posts tagged native american reservation

Shinnecock Matriarch Harriett Crippen Brown Gumbs Blazed Path Forward, Dies At 99

Lance Gumbs was on a mission to find misplaced beadwork in his mother’s shop last week when he saw them — the thick stack of files piled high on her desk.

It was like she had planned it.

Abandoning his original quest, Mr. Gumbs sat down, opened the first file and started to read. And for four and a half hours, he didn’t stop. When he closed the last one, he saw his mother and her legacy in a new light, her many accomplishments — a handful of which he never knew about — shining bright.

In those hours, he had come as close as he ever would to talking to her again.

Harriett Crippen Brown Gumbs, the matriarch and oldest female of the Shinnecock Indian Nation — a woman who lived her life as an educator, activist, feminist and historian — died on November 25 of natural causes. She was 99.

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Jeremy Dennis Kickstarts Campaign to Save Shinnecock Family Home

For the first eight years of his life, Jeremy Dennis knew his grandmother Loretta Silva — Princess Silva Arrow of the Shinnecock Nation — only as “Ma.”

And, even from a young age, he realized that she carried the lifeblood of the family.

Ma welcomed generation after generation into her home on the Shinnecock Territory, ensuring every child in her family grew up surrounded by love and warmth, discipline and support, including Mr. Dennis. Before he was born, she would throw mini-powwows on the front lawn, drawing crowds from all over — even from abroad — to visit the house and see native crafts and beadwork, eat traditional corn cooked in the earth layered under seaweed, and watch tribe members dance and sing, dressed in their finest regalia.

It was a place for family and tradition. And when Ma died in 1998, a part of that was lost, pushed aside, as was the upkeep of the house.

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