Colonial House Picture of the colony
Meet the Colonists Behind the Scenes Interactive History Media Gallery
Behind the Scenes
Introduction Interview with the Executive Producer Colonial Life, Then and Now

The Native American Story
A Historian Awakens 1628
Religion on the Colony
The Longest Day
Building the Colony
Candid Camera
The Training
By John Bear Mitchell
Photo of John Bear Mitchell

he oral tradition of my people parallels the European documented history of the time: It has been told that Passamaquoddy and Penobscot relationships with the English existed as a mutual relationship from 1624 to 1630. Before 1624, my tribe had experienced sickness and disease, through exposure to unfamiliar European viruses, which destroyed 75% of my people. After 1630, we entered an era of war with the English. The year 1628 was a time of hope and temporary peace. Being part of a project that brought us back to the ideas and attitudes of that time was exciting. I had looked at a lot of documentation via English journals and trade books. These primary resources foretold a future of uneasiness.

I worked with the COLONIAL HOUSE production team in two capacities. First, I was a researcher and consultant to the series from the native perspective. I was also an active participant as a tribal member who interacted with the colonists. The producers worked with people from three tribes -- the Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, and Wampanoag -- who have for thousands of years occupied what we now call New England. The production team wanted to show the interactions between the English and the tribes, as they would have historically been. I come from a tribe that maintains its connections with the land and still "owns" many of our traditional territories. I had to interact with the colonists on two levels. First, I was interacting by conducting business in trade. Secondly, I was interacting on a human level -- the colonists became my friends.

It is my hope that we Passamaquoddy/Penobscot show the audience the relationship between an English colony and native tribes of my area. We never tried to change the history, but instead show how we actually worked together. Although some natives have differing viewpoints, it was important to show the humanness in our interactions and my tribal people as a very hospitable people.

I could never have predicted my feelings, emotions, and attitudes by the end of this project. I was hoping that by the conclusion, I would have experienced what my ancestors had experienced and come to know a little more of what it was that my people were trying to accomplish in developing these relationships. In the end, I made real friends with the colonists and gained an understanding of hope and promise for my people.

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