Joan Tavares Avant

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Joan Tavares Avant
Tribe Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal President, Tribal Historian, and writer
Born (1940-04-14) April 14, 1940 (age 74)
Native name Granny Squannit
Known for Author of People of the First Light; Director of Indian Education in the Mashpee Public Schools, columnist for the Mashpee Enterprise
Education University of Massachusetts Boston, B.A in Human Services 1993, Cambridge College, Masters in Education, 1995
Relatives Granddaughter of Mabel Pocknett Avant (Nokomis)

Joan Tavares Avant (born 1940), also known as Granny Squannit, is a Mashpee Wampanoag tribal leader, historian, and writer living in Mashpee, Massachusetts.

Biography[edit]

She is the grand-daughter of respected Mashpee leader Mabel Pocknett Avant (Nokomis). Joan Tavares Avant has served three terms as Tribal President, four terms as Tribal Historian,[1] and was the Director of Indian Education in the Mashpee Public School System for 26 years.[2] In that latter capacity, she worked to provide guidance and promote cultural awareness to local Wampanoag students and teachers, as well as to provide school day care and tutoring services. She worked with Native and non-Native educators to create a curriculum that highlighted local Wampanoag elders, culture, history, legends, and values.[3]

In 1993, the Falmouth Affirmative Action Committee recognized Avant for her work with education.[4] In November 2012 she was chosen to be featured in the CBS News segment Wampanoag: Reviving the language discussing the Wampanoag Language Reclamation Project. Avant received a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services in 1993 from the University of Massachusetts Boston, and a Masters in Education at Cambridge College in 1995.[5] She is currently working on a doctoral degree in Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Avant remains actively involved in the Mashpee community as a Clan Mother, Commissioner for the Tribal Housing Commission,[6] and member of the Mashpee Historical Commission.[7] She also serves on the Mittark Committee,[8] which publishes Nashauonk Mittark, the monthly Mashpee Wampanoag newsletter.

Publications[edit]

Avant has had a long career as a columnist for the Mashpee Enterprise, in which she currently writes a column titled "Tales From Granny Squannit,"[9] and has also written for the Cape Cod Times. Two of her articles, Now, and Always, Wampanaog[10] and With Intent to Civilize,[11] have been featured in the Cultural Survival quarterly magazine. She is also an editor of the National League of American Pen Women’s newsletter.[12]

She has also self-published two books: Wampanoag cooking: A prelude to the soon-to-be-published book Wampanoag foods & legends (1993) and People of the First Light (2010). The latter is a compilation of personal memoirs, Wampanoag history, and recipes, focusing on Avant's own experiences in the Mashpee Community.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Knight, Margaret. "Chappy". Vineyard Gazette. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  2. ^ Nashauonk Mittark. "Elections". December 2009. Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  3. ^ P. Stone, R. MacKenzie (1990). The Excluded Past: Archaeology in Education. Google Books: Unwin Hyman Ltd. p. 123. 
  4. ^ Falmouth Enterprise Newspaper. "Obituary". Falmouth Enterprise. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  5. ^ Nashauonk Mittark. "Elections". December 2009. Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  6. ^ Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. "Committees and Councils". Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  7. ^ Town of Mashpee. "Historical Commission.". Mashpee, Massachusetts. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  8. ^ Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. "Committees and Councils". Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  9. ^ Barnstable Patriot Staff. "The Exchange 3-22-13". The Barnstable Patriot. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  10. ^ Avant, Joan Tavares (Summer 2006). "Now, and Always, Wampanaog". Cultural Survival Quarterly 30 (2). 
  11. ^ Avant, Joan Tavares (Spring 1979). "With Intent to Civilize". Cultural Survival Quarterly 3 (1): 19. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  12. ^ Nashauonk Mittark. "Elections". December 2009. Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  13. ^ Senier, Siobhan. "Another new book: this one by Wampanoag elder Joan Tavares Avant (Granny Squannit)". Retrieved 9 April 2013.