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Honoring the (CT) Mystic River and Paddle Culture

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

The mist was rising off the river to embrace us as we honored the Missi-tuck and Paddle Culture with Mike Thomas, Mashantucket Pequot Knowledge Keeper. Thank you to Steve Fagin for the idea and the kayak leadership, and to Chris Gasiorek at the Mystic Seaport Museum for hosting us!! It was fun to paddle alongside people who made their own boats, people whose people have been paddling from the beginning of time, Aundré Bumgardner and his wife Kayla, grandmothers, skilled rowers, artists, writers, and people who are finding hope together.

The group began in Old Mystic and gathered numbers as it went, finishing with about 15 paddlers and Alliance members at the Beach at Mystic Seaport.

There, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Elder and Knowledge Keeper Mike Thomas drummed and sang a traditional song in praise of the River, and began a conversation about the meaning of paddle culture and the relationship humans feel with the water. Artists and dugout makers working on the beautiful muhshoon (now stored until its big moment in the Entwined : Freedom, Sovereignty, and the Sea exhibit opening in early 2024) joined in and shared their perspectives from as nearby as the Mashantucket Pequot Nation and as far away as coastal West Africa.

Today was a day for reflection, renewal, and reconnection. The Alliance continues to both expand and grow closer.

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