The Native Land Conservancy has received its second parcel of land, only months since a Sandwich man donated a parcel to the Native American-led land trust.
The Sandwich Conservation Trust transferred ownership a 1⁄3-acre parcel near Mashpee-Wakeby Pond, a visible holly forest on Cotuit Road that overlooks the pond. The parcel abuts a set of cranberry bogs.
Ramona Peters, a historian and member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, founded the native trust in 2012. The trust received its certification as a nonprofit a year later. The conservancy is supported by open membership and led by a board of Wampanoag and Nipmuc tribe members.
“It is an organization that can bring the same dedication to land preservation as our trust, but with a slightly different perspective with its interest in native culture and history,” said John N. Cullity, founding president of the Sandwich land trust. “We have been thinking about what we might be able to do to help promote the [Native Land Conservancy] mission and involve ourselves as its partner. Our little Wakeby Preserve seems just right for that.”
Mr. Cullity brought the idea to the trustees, who he said jumped on board immediately.
He said that Sandwich, unlike most Cape towns, did not keep many of the native names for places. He said that this section of the Mashpee-Wakeby area formerly belonged to Mashpee, so it is fitting that the tribe receive the parcel.
While Mr. Cullity said the parcel is small, the gift boosts the efforts of the Native American land trust.
“It’s symbolic, but it means a lot to all of us,” he said.
“We are very grateful to the members of the Sandwich Conservation Trust for their faith in our stewardship and their partnering with us as we grow as a nonprofit organization,” said Ms. Peters, who presented Mr. Cullity and the Sandwich group with a piece of polished wampum as a gift of friendship during an on-site ceremony in December.
Nitana Hicks, a Mashpee tribe member and linguist, said in a press release that Wakeby in the Wôpanâak language is wâ-kupee, meaning “moving water” as in “churned up” or “stirred up.” The “wâk-” part is from another verb, wâkawânutam, which means “be excited.”
“If you have been out during a storm on Cadtaumet Neck [sic], where the Lowell Holly Reservation is now, one side of the pond can be very calm and the other side might be extremely choppy, depending on the wind direction,” Ms. Peters said of the pond’s currents. “Perhaps that is where wâ-ku-pee gets its name.”
There are no walking trails on the small parcel. The land had originally been donated to a Sandwich trust in 1999.
Norman W. Hayes, a Sandwich resident, longtime conservationist and environmental consultant, gifted the Native American trust its first piece of land last year. He donated a 1.4-acre wooded parcel off Shoot Flying Hill Road in Barnstabl that features a view of Wequaquet Lake.