Mashpee Wampanoag Government Center

The Mashpee Wampanoag Government Center off Great Neck Road South.

Indigenous communities have been planting corn, beans and squash, “the three sisters,” in North America for over 12,000 years. This agricultural custom is now the namesake of a new tradition for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe: The Three Sisters Farmers and Crafts Market.

The Mashpee Wampanoag Community Development Corporation has invited vendors—both tribal and non-tribal—to gather at the tribal headquarters every other weekend this summer to sell fresh seafood, fruit and vegetables and homemade crafts.

The famers market opens on Saturday, June 25, from 9:30 AM to 3 PM at the Mashpee Wampanog Tribal Government Center on Great Neck Road South.

Vendors and members of the community will be welcomed every other weekend until August 20.

“We’re hoping the whole community will come,” tribal CDC member Winne Johnson Graham said. “It’s not just tribal members who benefit from this. There are a lot of people excited to come together.”

So far, there are about 15 vendors signed up for the June 25 market. Ms. Graham said she hopes there will be more vendors as the summer goes on; the grounds have room for up to 100.

The 15 vendors signed up so far will sell fish, lobster, oysters, fresh fruits and vegetables, hot food and homemade crafts, including beaded necklaces, wampum jewelry and finger-woven belts.

“One of my elders will be cooking clam cakes,” Ms. Graham said. “She’s been cooking them for over 50 years. When you make clam cakes, you’ve got to have clams in every bite and that’s what she does. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.”

Ms. Graham said the CDC hopes the market will open economic opportunities for tribal members while simultaneously creating a place for the community to come together.

Though everyone is welcome to participate as a vendor, the council is asking that only tribal members sell shellfish. Ms. Graham said the tribe has its own regulations to ensure the seafood is fresh.

Additionally, the shellfish stands create an opportunity for younger members of the tribe to get involved in the Mashpee Wampanoag’s long traditions of hunting and fishing on Cape Cod, Ms. Graham said.

“It’s a great opportunity to teach the kids about our traditions,” she said.

The first Three Sisters Farmers and Crafts Market comes a week before the tribe’s annual pow wow, which will be held July 1-3 this year.

The pow wow is a “homecoming” for members of the tribe, Ms. Graham said. Those who do not live in Mashpee return for the annual celebration, so she said she hopes some will come early to support the market as well.

“Coming out of COVID, we need to see each other and be around each other,” Ms. Graham said. “A lot of people are excited to get some fresh lobster and fresh fish. Even if you don’t leave with food, we hope you’ll leave with joy.”

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