Burr's Hill re-burial to be solemn, private affair

Wampanoag confederation to reinter remains of Massasoit and hundreds of other objects taken from site over 160 years

EastBayRI.com ·

The remains of Wampanoag leader Massasoit will be marked by a simple boulder when the Wampanoags hold a private repatriation ceremony at Burr’s Hill Park this coming Saturday, May 13.

Now a town park, Burr’s Hill is the site of a Native American burying ground that was quarried extensively from the 1850s until the early years of the 20th century, and later dug up by an amateur archeologist and treasure hunters. All told, more than 40 human remains, and thousands of grave goods, were taken from the site through the late 1910s.

A confederation of Wampanoags from the Cape and Martha’s Vineyard have been working for 20 years to track down and repatriate as many of the objects taken from the site as possible. Their plan for Saturday is to re-inter the items in a concrete vault marked with a simple boulder, though there may be a larger memorial in the future, Warren Town Planner Kate Michaud said. Ms. Michaud said Wampanoags have been adamant that Saturday’s repatriation ceremony should be a private, solemn event. She said she does not know exactly where the boulder will be placed, except that it will be in the northern part of the park, with a view of the water.

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