2:30 PM EST
On Sunday, December 3rd we hosted our final event in our WWBA 2023 Series: Legacy of Long Island’s First Peoples – Long Island Whalemen of Color And the Circassian Shipwreck featuring Lance Gumbs, NE Vice President, NCAI and Sandi Brewster-walker, Executive Director of the Montaukett Indian Nation & Government Affairs Officer.
Long Island’s whaling legacy is a prominent part of its history, yet the vital role whalers of color played has traditionally been erased from the narrative. As the whaling industry grew on all sides of the Long Island Sound, when a vessel left its home port, the crew would include Native Americans, Blacks, and the descendants of the European settlers, as well as Dutch traders. All the whalemen of color did not come from the east end of Long Island. Some were born in western Suffolk, or Queens (Nassau) counties.
Nathaniel Murray, Robert Young, and Harry Mills were seamen of color born in the old Town of Huntington, which included Huntington South (Amityville). Nathaniel Murray (c1786), an Indian, can be found as early as 1815, departing at the port of New York. A year later, a New London Crew List had Nathaniel sailing on the brig Mary Ann to the West Indies. Samuel Havens and Nathaniel Murray also hunted the whale. The Town of Islip was the birthplace of Samuel Havens (c.1781), who sailed on the schooner Sally. Another Indian, Nathaniel Murray (Murry) (c.1786), joined the crew of the brig Mary Ann. These seamen were identified as being part of the over 400 men of color that hunted the whale from Long Island.
Sandi Brewster-walker will discuss her manuscript Gone Whaling: Long Island Seamen of Color, then turn the program over to Lance Gumbs.
Lance Gumbs, a Tribal Ambassador of the Shinnecock will discuss the invisible men of the Shinnecock Nation and their relationship with the doomed ship, The Circassian, which ran aground off of Bridgehampton in the winter of 1876. 10 Shinnecock seamen were among those enlisted to offload the ship’s cargo. With a vicious winter storm bearing down on the ship, the crew was forced to stay aboard and lost their lives, striking a terrible blow to the tight-knit Native American community. He is a co-chair of the Annual Shinnecock Indian Powwow and vice president of the National Congress of American Indians for the Northeast Region, as well as a former chairman and senior trustee of the Shinnecock Nation.
This is a FREE event.
This event is made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrant Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by The Huntington Arts Council, Inc.