Steven Peters is an internationally recognized story-teller. In novel ways the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal member’s narratives literally and figuratively weave contemporary commentary into Native history.  Each of his blood-line tales celebrates the nexus of millennium and modernity with a kinetic energy that sparks conversation.

Working with the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, SmokeSygnals, the Peters’ family fabrication company, integrates legend with legacy by adding a traditional wetu, or wigwam, to the Museum’s nearly 4 acre Green. Situated on the grounds with three Colonial structures the juxtaposition invites cultural comparison.

The Peters Family at the Cape Ann Museum Green , 13 Poplar Street Gloucester, Ma

Wetus are traditionally made of cedar branches, twisted and tied into a domed hut. Historically, Native Americans have used the structures as seasonal shelters while hunting and fishing. Covered with bark or reeds, wetus are a multi-generational place to rest, relax and pass along tribal customs.

SmokeSygnals takes a riff on these cherished customs. The family of artisans reimagined a wetu frame and replaced reeds with handprinted, dye-cut, synthetic panels. The ancestral cozy, has been transformed into a contemporary conversation piece on the Cape Ann Museum Green. This wetu’s artistic statement features images of an imaginative stomp-dance.

Natives dressed in regalia as well as current street-wear celebrate together the ancient custom of a pow-wowing on the Green. Uniting the generations, background panels of Sea, Earth, Sky weave timeless tales of Past, Present, Future into the central thesis; Indigenous  communal life remains vibrant and nature-centric.

Inside and out, this fanciful structure is a landmark of evolving cultural transformation. The Cape Ann Museum welcomes all generations to share the lyrical vibe of this imaginative wetu at 13 Poplar Street in Gloucester.

The on-going celebration of Indigenous Peoples continues at the Cape Ann Museum on June 29th at 10;00 AM with ” 1st Peoples : Portraits of First Light”. Matika Wilber, of the Swinomish and Tulalip Tribes, presents a photo essay representing and celebrating the sovereign culture of Native identity. To register for the free event visit : WWW CAPEANN MUSEUM. org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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