APRIL 14, 1940

MASHPEE WAMPANOAG JOAN TAVARES AVANT BORN—WRITER, LEADER, HISTORIAN

Born in Mashpee, Massachusetts, Avant, Director of Indian Education for the Mashpee Public School District, helped create a Wampanoag culture and history curriculum.  She has served as Director, Mashpee Wampanoag Historical Museum and member, Mashpee Historical Commission.  Avant earned a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services (University of Massachusetts Boston, 1993) and Master’s in Education (Cambridge College, 1995).  Her writing career began with articles on Wampanoag legend “Granny Squannit,” a medicine woman with long black hair and a single eye who scares misbehaving children.  Avant’s column titled Tales from Granny Squannit runs in the Mashpee Enterprise.  Her book, People of the First Light, was inspired by her finding the Native perspective lacking in her own tribal history.  She has served 3 terms as tribal president and 4 as historian.  She is also a member of Wampanoag Language Reclamation Project which teaches Native children the Wampanoag language.  

Source:  “Joan Tavares Avant,” Dawnland Voices.  Retrieved 1/29/2020, https://dawnlandvoices.org/collections/items/show/294
Photo:  Thomas Kelly, 9/14/2014.  Avant House (Mashpee, MA).  Permissive Use.

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