Darrel Wixon / Wampanoag from Mashpee, Massachuesetts
Darrel Wixon is a Wampanoag man from Mashpee, Massachusetts. We fought the traffic on Cape Cod to reach him in the small village of Mashpee. It was dark and the roads go this way and that and we nearly got lost. I never knew how wooded the land around Cape Cod was. Finally we called Darrel and had him rescue us.
When he showed up, it was surprising to see such a young man, but when I got to know him, it was clear that his love of the Wampanoag history is a driving force for him. In his basement, he played, and showed me some quohaug shells that the Wampanoag made famous. They would dive into the bay, sometimes diving 50 - 60 feet, and bring up the huge mollusk. They are good eating, but the real treat is the shell itself. The Wampanoag would carve the shells into small beads - almost purple in color, and string them into belts, breast-plates and other things. This was the first "Wampam" and it was very valuable for trading and give-aways.
The Wampanoags, according to the history books, were instrumental in helping the pilgrims survive their first winter in the new land. The story is actually much more interesting than is commonly portrayed. The Wampanoags were one of the many tribes that populated the eastern seacoast long before the arrival of foreign ships.
Listen to a sample of the show here.