Class VI’s Annual Venture to the Pequot Museum

Sixies enjoy an audio tour.

On January 16, as part of their “Roots and Shoots” history course, Sixies and their history teachers embarked on the annual trip to the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center. At the world’s largest museum dedicated to Native Americans, students visited a recreated 17th-century village, viewed artifacts, and read and heard about daily life for the Pequots and their cultural interactions with the Dutch and English in the early 17th century.

As a concluding exercise, boys watched the film Witness to a Genocide, which chronicles the massacre of the Pequots in 1637 in which 600 Pequots were killed and the survivors were enslaved. Roxbury Latin’s founder, John Eliot, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1631, preached against the enslavement of Native Americans throughout his time in North America.

Sixie history master Erin Dromgoole said the field trip is a very worthwhile venture. She noted that “because the Pequot Museum enables the boys to get a visual representation of 17th-century Native life, they are better able to understand the Native American perspective as we begin our study of John Eliot and his missionary work.”

History Department Chair Stewart Thomsen appreciates that the school has the John Eliot Endowment Fund, which supports the development of curricular initiatives that ensure RL boys are aware of the school’s historical connection to Native Americans. Mr. Thomsen says, “The field trip to the Pequot Museum complements our readings from William Cronon’s Changes in the Land by helping us to deeply contextualize the experience of Native Americans in southern New England during the 1600s. Time spent in the Pequot Village provides an opportunity for boys to exercise their historical imaginations in thinking about Native American life in the pre-contact and early-contact periods. Hearing the authentic voice of our Native American docent and considering the English, Dutch, and Pequot perspectives in the Witness to a Genocide program reinforces our diversity and inclusion efforts as a department. The history department is particularly grateful for the generous benefaction to the John Eliot Fund, which permits us to take the entire Sixie class to the museum for this day of learning beyond the school’s walls.”