Date of Award
Master of Arts in Marine Affairs
Public memory on Block Island largely ignores Black and Indigenous labor, life, and legacy. Reclaiming the past and present narratives of Black and Indigenous peoples on Block Island challenges historical erasure; their experiences can then become a meaningful part of the collective public memory of the region. Black and Indigenous women are a key aspect of erased and reclaimed memory, often tasked with maintaining place for their families over generations, upholding their connection to their land and their history - depended upon to maintain and pass down tradition. Developing new memory worlds would mean recognizing the contributions of Black-Indigenous peoples, particularly women, to their homes, lands, and communities. Recognizing and remembering Black-Indigenous ecologies on Block Island allows us to imagine the role of community, family, and home in shaping legacy and history and provides a necessary insight into how these women and their families persist. By looking through the eyes, the oral histories, and stories of Black-Indigenous descendants of Block Island's Manissean people, we can reveal a more holistic history of the island and may be able to provide a lens for a future environmentalism and place-based life on the island. This thesis hopes to generate new possibilities in understanding Black and Indigenous life on Block Island along with opportunities for liberation that stem from putting Black and Indigenous struggles into relationship.
Cato, Adrian, "RECLAIMING BLACK AND INDIGENOUS ECOLOGIES ON BLOCK ISLAND THROUGH ORAL HISTORY AND ETHNOGRAPHY" (2021). Open Access Master's Theses. Paper 1949.