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Monumental MobilityThe Memory Work of Massasoit$
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Lisa Blee and Jean M. O'Brien

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469648408

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469648408.001.0001

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(p.116) Chapter Three Distancing
Monumental Mobility

Lisa Blee

Jean M. O’Brien

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter brings personal experience with history into focus by recounting interviews with passersby as they talk about Massasoit and what the statue means to them, and juxtaposing these accounts with the living history museum Plimoth Plantation and the Public Broadcasting Station "experiential history" series Colonial House. This chapter seeks to understand three related phenomenon: how people experience historical distance between the past and present; how people endeavour to close the distance through consuming history as experience; and the ways in which Native peoples force a reckoning with Indigenous perspectives in Plymouth-centered narratives. Massasoit statues outside of Plymouth offer the greatest cognitive and geographic distance, and therefore a "safe" way to wrestle with the discomfort involved in coming to terms with colonialism. But the place of Plymouth and presence of Native educators makes a difference for closing the distance. Since the first 1970 United American Indians of New England protests, viewers of Massasoit must engage more fully in the nation's history. Plimoth Plantation and Colonial House likewise work to close the distance between the past and present through personal experience. This chapter argues that Native educators and activists play a crucial role for closing the distance and pushing a reckoning with history.

Keywords:   United American Indians of New England, Plimoth Plantation, historic interpreters, living history, Colonial House, cognitive distancing, Kansas City, MO, Plymouth, MA, Salt Lake City, UT, National Day of Mourning

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