Brown University has reached a preliminary agreement to transfer ownership of a portion of their property in Bristol, Rhode Island to the Pokanoket Tribe. The contested properties are considered ancestral lands of the Potumtuk and have been the site of an encampment of members of the Pokanoket Tribe protesting its appropriation for over a month.
The agreement, signed by both parties nearly a week ago, requires Brown University to transfer lands considered sacred to the Pokanoket to a preservation trust. The trust will be made up of representatives from Native American tribes that have historical ties to the area.
In a statement released yesterday, Po Wauipi Neimpaug of the Pokanoket Tribe restated the goals of the Pokanoket protesters:
“The Pokanoket Tribe wishes to reiterate and make abundantly clear that the intention of the Tribe is solely to preserve the sacred and ancestral lands of Potumtuk in a manner that will ensure their longevity and return them as closely to the pristine state of being that they were in prior to their unlawful transference by the Plymouth Bay Colony in the late 1600s.”
Following the agreement, Pokanoket Tribe members left the property. They have since begun to contact Native American tribes in order to set up the preservation trust, while Brown University has allocated funding for a land survey of the property to establish which lands will go into the trust.