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Life in Ridgefield—Before it Was Known as Such

Saturday, November 12, 2022 @ 2:00 pm 4:00 pm | Ridgefield Library

The history of Ridgefield CT is lengthy and fascinating. Before the Gilded Age, before the American Revolution, before the first proprietors arrived — before Ridgefield was even known as Ridgefield — this land was occupied by American Indians. This program is presented in honor of November’s National Native American Heritage Month.

This special program, held in collaboration with the Ridgefield Library and featuring lecturer Drew Shuptar Rayvis, will focus on those early days — Life in the Eastern Woodlands and Life in the Connecticut Woods from the 1670s to the 1730s.

Drew will not only speak to us of these times, he will also demonstrate and represent them. His attire and objects reflect the interconnected relationships between the Dutch, English, and Algonkian peoples and represent the adaptation of Native American life to European settlement and trade goods, including the importance and use of wampum. 

This program follows the European settlers inland from the coast and watches as they meet their Native American neighbors during the “wild days” of the Connecticut frontier.  Drew will clarify how their “trade artifacts”  — axes, a flintlock musket, metal knives, blankets, jewelry (glass beads and earrings), clay pipes, and metal scraps — compared to traditional items made from stone, bone, wood, and shell. 

The program also highlights the social, spiritual, and economic importance of wampum and its role in relations between the Settlers and Natives. If you are interested in the history and heritage of Ridgefield, this program is for you.

This program is most fitting for those ages 14 and older.

Drew Shuptar-Rayvis (Pekatawas Makataweu “Black Corn”) holds a cum laude Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Sociology from Western Connecticut State University and a Certificate Degree in Archaeology from Norwalk Community College. A true American of the mid-Atlantic region, his family includes indigenous Pocomoke heritage, Pennsylvania Dutch, Welsh, Swiss, English, Scots-Irish, Boyko Ukrainian, and Ashkanazi Jewish. 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 reenactments, interpretations, and public educational events. He has studied the reading of Wampum and works diligently in the research and preservation of the Eastern Woodland languages, particularly Renape and Mahican. He is also fluent in the many European languages in use in the Colonial Period.

Registration for this event is required. Please use the form below or here ››



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472 Main St
Ridgefield, CT 06877 United States
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