Feeding the Fire: The Mishoon Project
Beginning on Sunday, September 4th, The Wayside Inn Foundation (TWIF) will oversee, in conjunction with Ockway Bay Wampum (OBW) and No Loose Braids (NLB), the building of a mishoon on the east side of the property, across from Josephine’s Pond. We anticipate that this will take approximately ten (10) days to make, from start to finish. A celebration (free and open to the public) to float the canoe will take place on Saturday, September 17th starting at noon.
What is a mishoon?
A mishoon is a canoe made from a fresh pine log shaped through a process of monitored burning, using Indigenous techniques that span millennia. The burning process can take 7-10 days or longer, depending on the size of the pine tree used for the canoe.
Why build a mishoon at The Wayside Inn?
The Wayside Inn Historic Site sits on the traditional, ancestral land of the Nipmuc people. When we began researching the Indigenous history of our site, we reached out to representatives of the Nipmuc and Mashpee Wampanoag to explore opportunities for collaboration. The mishoon project was proposed as a teaching tool for the community to learn about one aspect of Native American culture while simultaneously training Indigenous youth in the mishoon-making tradition.
Who will be making the mishoon?
The building of the mishoon will be monitored and managed by our Nipmuc and Mashpee Wampanoag partners, Andre Strongbearheart Gaines, Jr. of NLB, and Hartman Deetz of OBW. They will work alongside a team of Indigenous apprentices to ensure the continuation of the mishoon-making tradition with future generations.
Where on the site is the mishoon being made?
The mishoon burning will occur on the east side of The Wayside Inn site at the head of the Innkeeper’s Loop trail, near the Ice House and across from Josephine’s Pond. A trail map is available at https://bit.ly/WITrailMap.
TWIF will also be hosting the following structured programs:
- Friday, September 9 (7:30 – 10:00 p.m.) – Community Night Program (Details TBA. This program will involve cooking over the mishoon fire).
- Saturday, September 10 (10:00 a.m. – noon) – Family Program (Details TBA. This program will be designed for families.)
- Sunday, September 11 (2:00 – 4:00 p.m.) – Family Program (Details TBA. This program will be designed for families.)
- Saturday, September 17 (noon – 2:00) – Mishoon Launch and Celebration
All programs are FREE, and no registration is required. Parking is available in the East Field near Josephine’s Pond.
What if I can’t visit while the mishoon is being made?
We will be documenting the process on video and will also live stream midway through the project with questions provided by school-age children! Questions from kids may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org now through September 2nd. After the project is finished, we will post the videos on our YouTube channel and share them on our social media pages.
Can I volunteer to help?
Yes! We are recruiting a limited number of volunteers to help transport firewood, replenish water supplies, and assist in other ways throughout the project. Volunteering is a great way to learn about mishoons and Indigenous traditions through a hands-on experience. To sign up, please visit https://bit.ly/mishoon-volunteers.