November 18, 2023
10:00 AM EST
11:30 AM EST

Cost: Free

Event Description:

Saturday, November 18th, the 5th program in our WWBA 2023 Series: Legacy of Long Island’s First Peoples – The Power Of Words – Algonquin Language featuring Chief Harry Wallace, Esq.

In 1791, Thomas Jefferson sat with three elderly Unkechaug women, whom he was convinced were among the last living speakers of their Native language. He transliterated a list of Unkechaug words alongside their English translation, such as animals, plants, body parts, colors, simple verbs, and numbers. Most of this collection was destroyed in 1809, when a thief tossed Jefferson’s papers into the James River while searching for something more valuable.

Long Island Native Americans did not lose their languages, they were stolen like Thomas Jefferson’s papers. Many of the local Native American peoples were forcibly pushed from their lands and marginalized, as well as punished for speaking the Algonquin language. Chief Harry B. Wallace, Esq., of the Unkechaug Indian Nation on the Poospatuck Reservation has taught the Algonquin language, since 2016 at Stony Brook University. He co-founded the Algonquian Language Revitalization Project, as part of the linguistics Department. Wallace leads us in an exploration of the meanings and history behind the Algonquin Language. Wallace notes, “One of the things I have learned is that the language was never gone. We just disconnected ourselves from it.”

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.