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Emeritus Connecticut State Archaeologist Dr. Nicholas Bellantoni to Discuss Latest Book The Long Journeys Home, via Live Webinar from New Canaan Library
June 9 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pmFree
New Canaan Library is pleased to present former Connecticut State Archaeologist Nick Bellantoni, speaking on his latest book, The Long Journeys Home: The Repatriations of Henry Opukahaia and Alfred Afraid of Hawk. The presentation via webinar on Tuesday, June 9 at 7 p.m. is the first in the Library’s three-part series, “Exploring Connecticut Archaeology.” Please register online at newcanaanlibrary.org; Zoom sign in information will be provided upon registration.
The Long Journeys Home introduces the concept of repatriation after death, and the part Connecticut’s state archaeologists played in that endeavor. Henry ʻŌpūkahaʻia (ca. 1792—1818) and Albert Afraid of Hawk (ca. 1879—1900) lived almost a century apart and came from different Indigenous nations – Hawaiian and Lakota. Yet, the circumstances of Western imperialism that led them to leave their homelands and come to Connecticut where they died and were buried have striking similarities.
In 1992 and 2008, descendant women had visitations that their ancestors wished to “come home” and started the repatriation process. Connecticut state archaeologist Nick Bellantoni oversaw the archaeological disinterment and forensic identifications in returning these men to their respective Native families. The Long Journeys Home chronicles these significant stories as examples of the wide-reaching impact of colonialism and the resurgence of Hawaiian and Lakota cultures.
The series continues with the webinar “The Ridgefield Skeletons” on Tuesday, June 16 at 7 p.m. and ends with “The Contact Period in Connecticut: Looking at Indigenous Sites from the 1630s and 1670s” on Tuesday, June 23 at 7 p.m.
Dr. Nicholas F. Bellantoni serves as the emeritus state archaeologist with the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History at the University of Connecticut. He received his doctorate in anthropology from UConn in 1987 and was shortly thereafter appointed state archaeologist. He also serves as an Adjunct Associate Research Professor in the Department of Anthropology at UConn and is Interim-President of the Archaeological Society of Connecticut and a former president of the National Association of State Archaeologists. His research background includes the analysis of skeletal remains from eastern North America. He has been excavating in Connecticut for almost 40 years.