"Praying Indians" Honored in Natick on Memorial Day

May 30, 2006

Source: The Boston Globe


On May 30, 2006 The Boston Globe reported, "To the remorseless beat of a deerskin drum, three Native Americans in tribal regalia chanted a list of battles and wars their ancestors had fought since the `Praying Indians' settled here in the 1650s. In prayers and song, the tribe paid homage to warriors whose sacrifice had been all but forgotten -- Native Americans who converted to Christianity and were believed to have fought with the Colonists during the Revolutionary War. On Main Streets and town greens across the state, people gathered yesterday to remember those who served their country in uniform, and those who died defending it. But on a small Indian burial ground near the center of town that was originally 100 acres, people gathered to resurrect and redeem the faded memories of 21 fallen Native American soldiers buried in unmarked graves. Members of the tribe knelt in prayer and laid wreaths before two stone monuments inscribed with the words `We Will Remember' and the names of the soldiers -- mixed-heritage names like Solomon Wamsquam, Alexander Quapish, and Jonas Obscow. The honor was too long coming, residents agreed. But with the ranks of the Natick Praying Indians dwindling to 50 members, the public recognition of the tribe's overlooked past helped heal old wounds."