In honor of Native American Heritage Month, the Ridgefield Historical Society, in conjunction with the Ridgefield Library, will present a program on what was happening here when European settlers arrived.
The event will take place on Saturday, November 12 at 2 p.m. at the library. Speaker Drew Shuptar Rayvis will focus on those early days – Life in the Eastern Woodlands and Life in the Woods of Connecticut from the 1670s to the 1730s.
Rayvis will demonstrate and represent the people of those years. Her clothing and objects will reflect the interconnected relationships between the Dutch, English and Algonquin peoples and represent the adaptation of Native American life to European colonization and trade goods, including the importance and use of the wampum by Native and settlers.
This program follows European settlers inland from the coast and watches them meet their Native American neighbors during the “savage days” of the Connecticut frontier. Rayvis will explain how their “commercial artifacts” – axes, flintlock muskets, metal knives, blankets, jewelry (glass beads and earrings), clay pipes and scrap metal – compared to traditional stone, bone, wood and shell.
Drew Shuptar-Rayvis (Pekatawas Makataweu “Black Corn”) holds a BA cum laude in anthropology and sociology from Western Connecticut State University and a certificate in archeology from Norwalk Community College. A true Mid-Atlantic American, his family includes Native Pocomoke heritage, Pennsylvania Dutch, Welsh, Swiss, English, Scots-Irish, Ukrainian Boyko, and Ashkenazi Jew. In July 2021, he was elected Northern Cultural Ambassador of the Pocomoke Indian Nation by resolution of its Tribal Council, Chief and Vice-Chief.
He honors all of his ancestors as a practicing living historian and regularly participates in colonial era re-enactments, interpretations and public educational events. He studied Wampum reading and works to research and preserve Eastern Woodland languages, particularly Renape and Mahican. He is also fluent in the many European languages in use during the colonial era.
This program is suggested for ages 14 and up. To register, go to https://ridgefieldhistoricalsociety.org/