Indigenous History and Ways of Knowing

The Boston Harbor Islands Partnership acknowledges the ancestral territory of the Massachusett Tribe, who have lived on and cared for this land and water for thousands of years and who continue to live here and care for this place today.

Indigenous people have lived in the area that is now Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park for several thousand years. The islands have served as both sites of ceremony and seasonal homes, as well as sites of genocidal internment and graves. Native peoples have lived and died, celebrated and remembered, stewarded and honored this land and water since time immemorial.

The National Park Service and its partners in the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership engage and consult with local and regional tribes to ensure the past and present stories of Indigenous peoples’ long-lasting relationships with the Harbor Islands are respectfully acknowledged and honored and that the sites and creations associated with tribal nations are protected. As this process continues, additional resources will be made available on this website and at our sites.


Learn about Indigenous Tribes connected to the Boston Harbor Islands:


Read about Indigenous History in New England:

Brooks, Lisa. Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War. Yale Univ. Press, 2019.

---. The Common Pot: The Recovery of Native Space in the Northeast. Minneapolis: Univ. Of Minnesota Press, 2008.

Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne. An Indigenous People’s History of the United States. Boston: Beacon Press, 2014.

DeLucia, Christine M. Memory Lands: King Philip’s War and the Place of Violence in the Northeast. Yale University Press, 2018.

Grenier, John. The First Way of War: American War Making on the Frontier, 1607-1814. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Lepore, Jill. The Name of War: King Philip’s War and the Origins of American Identity. New York: Vintage Books, 1998.

Mitchell, Sherri. Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change. North Atlantic Books, 2018.

Newell, Margarat Ellen. Brethren by Nature: New England Indians, Colonists, and the Origins of American Slavery. Cornell University Press, 2015.

O’Brien, Jean. Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians Out of Existence in New England. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2010.


Digital Resources:

portrait of Sitting Bull.
Indigenous Heritage

Learn about stories of the first peoples who lived in North America.

A sunset over the plains
Traditional Ecological Knowledge

While hosted by NPS, this site is a service for all those interested in Indigenous Knowledge (IK) or Traditional Ecological Knowledge.

people in a line carrying boxes.

Learn about the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

screenshot of native knowledge 360 website, with picture of students in a classroom.

The Native Knowledge 360° Education Initiative provides resources for students and educators.

screenshot of homepage of Native Northeast Research Collaborative featuring a historical photo.
Native Northeast Research Collaborative

Native Northeast Research Collaborative provides resources related to the study of Native presence in the Atlantic Northeast.

Upstander Project logo
Upstander Project

Upstander Project creates documentaries and educational resources related to Indigenous presence in New England and beyond.

Last updated: December 20, 2023

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