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Changing the Race Dance in U.S. Religious Practice



Changing Race Dance in U.S. Religious Practice (link includes photos)
by Cynthia Winton-Henry

“The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” Audre Lorde

This essay is about a trip to Boston where my ancestral lineage rose to haunt me in the form of that intellectually strong midwife, mother, teacher and mystic – my cousin from hundreds of years back, Anne Hutchinson. She and her extended family left the east coast of England hoping to create a life that honors the experience and authority of a Free Inner Grace. This is the powerful stuff that caused them to be excommunicated, exiled, slandered and disarmed.

May what is great in and around us  rise to love the Mother and to uphold her creation.




It was a lovely Autumn Day when Soyinka Rahim and I entered the old Roxbury, Massachusetts Church for our second day of the Changing the Race Dance Workshop. The evening before we met at the Unitarian Church on Harvard Square.


Soyinka isn’t surprised at much in white culture. She was raised a black nationalist by an out of the box vegan mom. The whippings, twitches and games of white people are alarmingly part of her lineage. But, when we stepped inside the unheated Federal Meeting House sanctuary founded by Boston Puritans in 1631 her eyes popped wide and her mouth dropped open in shock.


Soyinka and I had stepped through a door that led us directly underneath a soaring pulpit where we looked out at a sea of boxed-in white pews.[1]


It was cold. That is challenge enough for dancing bodies. For artists concerned with healing from white racism, the colonial sanctuary felt even more icy and in disrepair. The only place for moving was a tiny space at the front and in the aisles. We’d prepared a workshop that incorporates conversation, movement, story, and song using the tools and principles of InterPlay. But this stately architecture takes its cues from the Roman Imperial architecture established by Constantine when he made Christianity the state religion. It’s the architecture of those who want to assert postures of control.


This space was not meant for movement, yet here we were.


I’ve danced in sanctuaries since my teens, befriending endless pews, steps, aisles, pulpits and fonts. I know that “architecture creates an ethnic domain,”[2] and that the nature of the spaces we inhabit imprints on our bodies and psyches on the deepest levels. Our meeting spaces tell us who and whose we are.


For this reason I take seriously the way that words, architecture, and images shape my worldview. Here in the “ethnic domain” of the old Roxbury Church parishioners were literally put in boxes. Their eyes focused UP on a preacher ensconced in a concealing box. With nothing else to look at, their ears were trained to receive the Word sometimes for hours.


Can you guess what they valued? The authority of the preacher. Or did they?


A booming voice as the representative of God is a classic western God picture bred from the legacy of white “ethnic domains” found in churches, “democratic” governmental, educational and other houses of worship today.


But there is good news!


Located on Putnam Street today’s Roxbury church belongs to the Unitarian Universalist Center for Urban Ministries, a powerful center for social change serving a diverse and largely African American area of Boston! You can take a tour of black Roxbury here.


No wonder CC King, our organizer chose this venue. The sanctuary was all that was available that morning. In the afternoon we were to move to a more conducive space.


In hindsight, it was the ultimate object lesson on how white bodies have been molded by a white supremacist ideology. Most of our workshop attendees were white people. What better place to investigate whiteness than within the colonizing architectural forms found in so many of our mainstream public schools, health care facilities, courtrooms, businesses, religious centers and in a government that promotes a puritanical works-based value system.


In this church a tiny group of wealthy businessmen first entranced their seated “flock” to value external authority; the Holy Word over experience; doctrine and law over mystical voicings (especially those of women), and to elect anyone accomplished enough to master or evade this system. Instead, profit is the underlying value where wealth rules over our common quality of life.


Such forms and behaviors of whiteness are the ghosts inside of all us people that keep producing the overarching diseases of consciousness in our social body, diseases that dismiss anyone and anything that does not offer a profit. This includes the earth, which the indigenous say, we’ve given a fever.


In spite of our dismay, Soyinka and I began playing.


Thank goodness we can improvise!


Within moments our gaping mouths turned to song. Organizers brought space heaters. Introducing InterPlay’s dependable, flexible forms we began moving through the aisles and connecting with one another in solidarity.


We laughed and found our humor together helping us to feel like friends. Then, the participants who were therapists, teachers, activists, board members, and artists told each other brief stories of experiences with racism as well as good things they’ve learned from family and community.


Standing to the side, I looked over at a big brass plaque under the pulpit. It was front and center, not hidden or concealed in any way. When I read it I had my own shock. It credits Rev. Thomas Weld for being the founding preacher of this church and key player in the trial and excommunication of my maternal ancestor Anne Hutchinson for her belief in Free Grace and her outspokenness as a woman.


History calls this conflict the Antinomian or Free Grace Controversy.[3] The plaque names Weld as a “painful preacher” and the founding overseer of Harvard.


At the break I called to my friends, “Come read this plaque!” I saw the roots of racism and sexism literally written on the wall of the early American White Church and I felt my ancestors rise up.


I’ve had my own bouts with church in the struggle for a Free Grace.


I grew up singing in choirs and being invited to dance my prayers. I fell in love with God and then in my early twenties had a powerful encounter with the Divine Dancer who offers unconditional neutral regard.


My response was to ask how I could serve. The answer was to hold dance and religion together. I found a seminary, Pacific School of Religion that helped me to learn how to do this. Teachers like Doug Adams, Flora Wuellner and Robert MacAfee Brown inspired and guided me.


I was 25 when I taught my first adjunct faculty class on dance and religion. In my early thirties when I needed employment, my husband and I were called to a Silicon Valley congregation. I was clear with them that I was also an artist and dancer. Congregants seemed genuinely excited. But, our second Pentecost after I danced gently down the aisle to honor the movement of the Spirit, the elders asked that I refrain from dancing. It disturbed them and hinted at a direction they did not want to go. Freedom?


Other changes were disruptive as well. Young people were taking more responsibility. We were talking about gay rights. As most people know, churches don’t like change. On our third Easter Sunday the cinder block sanctuary felt more like an empty tomb than a celebration of resurrection.


It broke my heart. Fostering the freedom of Great love is my dream.


From earliest memory I received blessings from well-respected teachers and indigenous people that I met on my travels. I’d researched the role of dance, religion and the workings of body and soul. The Greater Church blessed and embraced my call and invited me to lead major conferences.


My spiritual evolution led me to the Axis Mundi, the Tree of Life, the Dance of Life, all things in InterPlay, and the Unbelievable Beauty of Being Human, the organic organizing principles of my life’s work. All the while I’ve continued to field the resistances in academia and the church to an incarnating presence and an artful dancing consciousness.


When Barbara Ehrenreich wrote Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy,” critiquing the absence of joy in the West, my wildest hope surged! She recognized the links I’d made and came to the conclusion that the resistance of white people to dance, laugh, listen to each other, to nature and beyond leads to what indigenous people call soul sickness.


Confronting the historic dismemberment of compassionate, intelligent, feminine, earth-based designs, I knew I was also on a journey to heal my internalized racism.


Then, Hurricane Katrina hit. I was stunned the Sunday after the hurricane to see so little emotional response in my predominantly white congregation. The plight of our African American brothers and sisters did NOT appear to be a personal issue for them. There was no outcry, no pouring forth of support. Down the street, Oakland people loaded up their trucks to carry supplies to New Orleans.


Something snapped. Rage grew. I no longer felt able to uphold my covenant as Protestant minister. I underwent a process to renounce my ordination and in doing so to turn my energies toward equipping leaders with tools that support body and soul. InterPlay became my primary way to orient to Freedom and a living Grace.


I still attend church and love people who do. I know that the hindrances of Protestant architecture and practice are not the end story. Connection with the Divine underscores all worship. People and God can transcend the limits of any architecture. I also know how hard it is to change the forms we inherit. This humbles me every day when I think of brothers and sisters around the world whose religious practices seek to reassure and offer a sense of the Divine.


But this does not stop me from seeing the weed of whiteness in the forms used by the church. Like Jesus rattling the Pharisaic structures, then taking big time outs in the desert, I can tell the difference between the Tree of Grace and the weed of control. It’s in my body too. In any place that uses sexist language or repressive ideologies, I work hard in church to stay both loving and conscious.


If we want to tackle “White Privilege” and see whiteness running through the veins of our history we need to recognize it in our embodied reality.


I felt waves of anxiety even before I came to Boston.

I forgot the extent to which my people were in trouble for raising their voices as leaders and thinkers. Anne Hutchinson, her friend and mentee Mary Dyer a Quaker martyr, her brother-in law Rev. John Wheelwright, and family members like her cousin, my great grandfather William Wentworth were early arrivers from England. After only a few years they were all banished from Massachusetts.


Do you remember Anne’s story? She was the first woman in the U.S. whose wisdom on freedom of speech, religion, and a divine order was recorded by both courts of the early government and church. She is the only woman to found one of the original states, Rhode Island.


Anne initially received a warm welcome. Early Bostonians greatly appreciated her skill as a midwife. When she began holding prayer meetings for women to discuss the Sunday sermon in her home, John Cotton, her mentor, called her well respected and esteemed, doing much good. [4]


Midwives know we have powerful body wisdom. Anne knew well about the body having birthed fifteen children. She knew that a woman could directly encounter divine will directly and receive revelations. It was evident and in her nature to be enraptured. So much so that both she and Mary Dyer were accused by Puritan Governor John Winthrop to be “addicted to Divine Revelation.”


As a woman of intelligence and charisma with a world-changing message her mentor called her one of the most talented ministers he’d ever met. For her strength and integrity, she was put on trial.


Will the real Puritans please stand up?


Governor John Winthrop conducted Anne’s inquisitions first in a civic trial and then in a church trial. This reminds me of the Presbyterian minister Rev. Janie Spahr, a Presbyterian minister and friend who was repeatedly put on trial for performing “unauthorized” marriages of gay and lesbian couples. Janie never wavers in love and divine inspiration.[5]


So too, Anne boldly answered each of Winthrop’s questions with challenging questions of her own. To which he responded angrily, “You have rather been a Husband than a Wife and a preacher than a Hearer; and a Magistrate than a subject.”


Anne’s chief crime was usurping male authority. [6]

At the end of the civic trial Anne addressed the court giving them her judgment. She told them that her source of her knowledge was divine revelation and ended by stating:


and if you go on in this course you will bring a curse upon you and your posterity and the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.


History says, “The judges were aghast.”


A woman’s curse is powerful. Something of it is truly alive in Roxbury today. The church burnt down four times. It doesn’t look good. On the other hand it now plays a role in the Black Lives Matter Movement while the White Liberal Church and its people struggle for an identity and a future.


I take ancestry seriously.


Ancestry is more than spirit stuff. Trauma and beauty arise through our lineages. Joy de Gruy names this reality in her book, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome.


I believe it is time to similarly diagnose white folks whose ancestral family trees were clear cut by the Patriarchal Roman Ruling Class Paradigm that came to be called “Christian” by Constantine in 312.AD.


Our young and old are struggling. Many faithful people live with constant anxiety. I hear statements like, “Forty percent of students require medication.” Sleep disorders indicate that we can’t find rest.


Do we know we are bred in a a diseased paradigm that deters the natural genius of grace and spiritual intelligence in our bodies?


Genealogy is a top pastime of white people today. We are uncovering admirable and appalling family histories. It is harder to overlook the ways the white people have perpetuated and fought slavery, war, and the pursuit of profit over human dignity. But this is a source of hope as well. When my friend Katrina Browne discovered that her family provided the shipping for the slave trade from Bristol, Rhode Island to West Africa and back she created the film Traces of the Trade and dedicated her life to healing from racism.


All through my young adulthood I knew little about my ancestry. Then in my 50’s I discovered that my mother is a descendant of Ashkenazi Jews on one side and descends on the other without interruption to the Doomsday Book written in 1086 as a member of the ruling class.


When these hidden family trees became visible it drastically shifted my self-image and bodily experience of identity from being the stock of laundry workers and drunks to include some of the most affluent, well-educated white people in England and America, people like William Wentworth and his cousin Anne Maybury Hutchinson.


Sarah Vowel in her book The Wordy Shipmates beautifully recounts my family’s Puritan endeavor with cheeky humor. She tells how the Alford England rebels pulled up roots with every cent they could muster in a radical quest for the freedom to think and act. They plunged headlong into the “new” world.


I visited Alford, Lincolnshire with my sister. At the gate of the old Anglican stone church just outside of town, I met the caretaker, an eccentric beekeeper straight out of a BBC mystery. With a bee bonnet on his head and sputtering concerns about hives around the world he let us into the small stone sanctuary that has no electricity to this day.


What an uncommon, peaceful beauty within those stone walls! It was probably a far cry from the Puritan storm that brewed in the heart and mind of Anne’s father, my great uncle Rev. Maybury who was put under house arrest for contesting his ecclesiastical higher-ups. Being at home, he poured his intelligent care into Anne as she grew into a gifted teacher and student of John Cotton, father of Puritan thought.


But Anne was more than a good student. She was a mystic. She loved to commune with God and to pray. She had a vital connection to Divine Grace and felt that it was as authoritative as scripture or any external authority. When she arrived in Boston she did not hesitate to lead conversations with women.


The first Governor, Henry Vale, a young man and prior neighbor in Alford, went eagerly to Anne’s classes. Her teachings were popular, so popular that controversy brewed. In 1636 Roxbury minister Thomas Weld instituted and oversaw Harvard University so that young male clergy would be properly trained.[7]


A group of clergy and men of influence elected John Winthrop, a powerful lawyer and landholder. Vale was heartbroken.[8]


The one percent got its foothold.




Governor Winthrop instituted his vision for nation building over people building by claiming America as the New Jerusalem, the city upon the hill that would change the world, an idea invoked again by the Bush family.


In spite of the fact that Bostonians were resentful of Winthrop’s overbearing manner, Winthrop, Thomas Weld and their followers set in motion the patterning that we call a Christian nation. They wielded an authoritative manner that led to adopting a work ethic and the hierarchy of word over action. They wrapped politics up in the brocade cloth of aristocratic European male minds that seek to advance material wealth rather than the greater social good.


Winthrop gave support to the total massacre of local Pequot indigenous men, women, and children in what was called a “Just War..[9] He also endorsed the enslavement of Indian captives and others as part of the national norm


Anne’s recorded trials, both civic and religious, tell us what is at stake when we hide this early history. At her excommunication from the church her own mentor, Rev. John Cotton, betrayed her. Said, John Cotton,


“You cannot Evade the Argument…that filthie Sinne of the Communitie of Woemen; and all promiscuous and filthie cominge togeather of men and Woemen without Distinction or Relation of Marriage, will necessarily follow…Though I have not herd, nayther do I thinke you have bine unfaythfull to your Husband in his Marriage Covenant, yet that will follow upon it.”[82] He concluded, “Therefor, I doe Admonish you, and alsoe charge you in the name of Ch[rist] Je[sus], in whose place I stand…that you would sadly consider the just hand of God agaynst you, the great hurt you have done to the Churches, the great Dishonour you have brought to Je[sus] Ch[rist], and the Evell that you have done to many a poore soule..[83]


Them the Governor happily said, “Thus it pleased the Lord to heare the prayers of his afflicted people … and by the care and indevour of the wise and faithfull ministers of the Churches, assisted by the Civill authority, to discover this Master-piece of the old Serpent …” He ended by noting, “It is the Lords work, and it is marvelous in our eyes.”[76]


But, his was not the last word. When Anne Hutchinson walked toward the door, her friend Mary Dyer, put her arm in Anne’s. A man by the door said, “The Lord sanctifie this unto you.” Hutchinson replied, “Better to be cast out of the Church than to deny Christ.”


Wikipedia commentators conclude that, “With Hutchinson’s departure…religious orthodoxy was secured as the intellectual focus of the community…[87]Freedom of expression and religious choice were terminated as personal options. The established church was now the “sole repository of religious truth,” in control of doctrines and morals.[88]


To stop the Hutchinson family from creating a home in exile in Rhode Island, Rev. Thomas Weld went on to fabricate a false document that ordered their removal. While he failed in this, his “painful preaching” and disrepute followed him back to England where he served until his death in Gateshead and was known as the “Insultor.”


But the damage was done, not just by Weld and Winthrop but by all the gentlemen committed to personal gain and social success in a white landowners’ world. His victory is in the institution of forms. Otherwise his name is almost completely disregarded.


Anne was a prophet of grace.


If Anne’s understanding of freedom through inner divine connection had been endorsed we might be striving today for a society whose physical actions honor each and every divine soul whatever color, gender or income.


Her dream of cultivating each person’s inner light and particularly that of women had a different path in mind than that of relentless HARD WORK, THE NEED TO COMPETE, and to KEEP OURSELVES DECENT AND IN ORDER as SUBJECTS OF THE GREATEST WHITE HALLMARK – WORDY SUPERIORITY.


The U.S. would have systems that include heart and soul intelligence as a part of decision making. Women’s voices, designed to engage empathy and social regard, would be part of ALL major conversations. Slavery, racism, education, politics, and health care would not have been granted authority if women had been offered a place to make a moral contribution to the early designs of the United States.


When I left the workshop at the end of the day I looked up at the outside of the Roxbury Church and recalled Anne’s curse on the way the early leaders disassociated people from Divine Nature and each other. Aren’t we seeing diminished authority in the White Liberal Church? Very few churched men and women are left to truly profit from this hierarchical form.


In case we are tempted to think that Anne was a crazed renegade religious leader, her whole community of farmers and merchants had their hunting rifles removed. The magistrates considered these faithful people a threat. Isn’t what happened to these white folk similar to others who were disarmed, declassified, murdered, raped and castrated? On the other hand why didn’t people stick up for these leaders.


The Hope

Grace is still here. It is tree. It is also a vast grass root system extending around the planet holding our soul soil in place and humbly feeding people and creatures.


Grace is a magnificently resistant strain born of wild seed that cannot be eradicated no matter how hard the forces of greed work. It arises from a tenacious love that lives in the bodies of the global majority, people of color, and white people awake to its power.


Anne and the “other Puritans” carried that seed. Many a religious person today, schooled in care for community, social justice, and earth care who know how to reach beyond the self to the WE plant Grace seeds wherever two or more gather in body, mind, heart and spirit.


InterPlay is rooted in the physicality of grace—the ability to notice in our bodies the bits and patterns of ease, goodness and beauty, as well as the patterns of whatever creates grace. From noticing we practice orienting to grace to create more of it for our own good and the good of others. This is what we call body wisdom. Grace is our cornerstone.


Along with Phil Porter, my colleague and cofounder, we know that grace needn’t be a theological word. Grace is a dance word and a word for blessing and thanksgiving. Grace points to amazingly mysterious interventions and ordinary bounty.


Grace powerfully rises when we dance with life. As indigenous people uphold, and as Jesus said in a last supper hymn the night he was betrayed. “He who does not dance, does not know what comes to pass.” [10]


Today’s people are dismantling systems of white authority or seeing them dismantled by war, hate, and poverty. We know we are connected. Technology amplifies this fact and is changing our worldview so that we see ourselves again living in a great web.


We can change the Race Dance.


Based on Audre Lorde’s wisdom, the great African American teacher who said, “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” the Changing the Race Dance Workshop that Soyinka Rahim and I lead and workshops led by InterPlayers of color don’t use the master’s tools. This makes these workshops both wonderful and challenging. Most of us being “colonized” by these forms are not even aware that the master’s tools keep us all away from our deepest grace and wisdom.


Dance, song and stories gift us with the ability to be free, to take care of ourselves, and to notice our experience and have it affirmed. This creates a body politic that is different than that of the Roxbury sanctuary.


Racism is a body deal.


Because racism lives in a socialization that harms everyone by separating and objectifying all bodies, it break with divine love and injures the soul that of everyone. Let’s wake up to the fact that racism is not just an ideology or legal issue. Racism is in our dance. Unchallenged, our stifling, seated, muted and wordy race dances affect our ability to shift the racist patterns dancing in us. 


Art creates the future.


These words sum up what I learned in studies at the Graduate Theological Union and in the work I did at the Western Institute for Social Research studying Augusta Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed.


I am convinced that to move people to health we need to move in new ways. We don’t want a system based in word alone that continually demands that its members look outside for validation coming from an external authority. We need to weave each person’s body, mind, heart, and soul, no matter who they are, into the vast fabric of social wisdom. This weaving must include the group wisdom as well.


Simple storytelling, movement, and voice are needed more than ever to create the hopeful path that will allow us to recover from racism and to find the group wisdom and inspiration that builds people up. In addition, a most profound change happens when truth is felt and practiced in body mind heart and soul. Some call this a second birth.


I personally believe that to heal from racism we need a Loving Spiritual Intelligence. We need to learn from great social and spiritual wisdoms. We need practices that ennoble people and offer gracious ways to interrupt patterns that cause disease.


We need to address our overriding reliance on language and spend more time listening to people. Speeches and ideas that are hierarchically patterned keep us out of action and apart from our inner authority.


We need to tell our story and enter into different narratives.

We need to bridge people and build hope through parables, poetry, movement, song, food, and stillness. 


Changing “thought forms” is slow work. Some think it is impossible. But, we know that the makers of grace, artists, dancers, and thinkers are powerful and often the first to be killed in a war. It is not unreasonable to think that we can accelerate racial healing the through folk art forms that connect and ignite the broad, empathetic, embodied “WE” nature.


What rituals hook people up to the global web of peace?

What beauty way will create peace?

Can we return to eating, telling our stories, meditating and dancing our prayers to find our way back to grace?


Wise elders see and sense the mysterious presence of the beauty way. As soon as they are able to leave work they return to beauty. Millennials also seek this path. The very young are always ready.


My 6th grade teacher in 1966, Mr. Laney cast the grace seed over to me when he said our graduation theme would be “I have a dream.” My school, Normont Elementary was in the “Projects.” Mr. Laney was my one and only African American teacher. I loved him and was thrilled when he invited me to choreograph and perform “Happy Talk” from the musical “South Pacific.” He was the first teacher to call out my kinesthetic intelligence. 


Happy talk, keep talking happy talk,

Talk about things you’d like to do,

You gotta have a dream,

If you don’t have a dream,

How you gonna have a dream come true?


Great dreams can be tasted, felt, and seen. They are carried in the healthy wisdom of embodied, passionate humans! When there are two or more carrying the dream, the world changes.


Getting IN THE DANCE is so much easier than resisting it. As Martin Luther King said, “We must use time creatively, and forever realize that the time is always right to do right.”  



























Additional Notes

Wikipedia: Anne Hutchinson

Anne was drawn to John Cotton’s theology of absolute grace, and this pointed her life in the direction of study and interpretation of God’s word.[13] Taking further Cotton’s doctrine of the Holy Ghost dwelling within a “justified person,” Hutchinson “saw herself as a mystic participant in the transcendent power of the Almighty.”[13] This theology was empowering to women in a society where the status of a woman was determined by her husband or father; in Hutchinson’s case, it gave her a voice.[14] The theology of direct personal continuing revelation that Hutchinson embraced opposed the doctrine of the closed canon of biblical revelation, which was basic to the Reformed doctrines held by the majority of English settlers at that time.

While Hutchinson adopted Cotton’s minority view of divine grace being the only means to salvation, as opposed to any assistance through works, she did share the mainstream view of most Puritans in emphasizing “the need for an inner experience of God’s regenerating grace as a mark of election.”[10] Beyond this, however, she espoused some views that were more radical, such as devaluing the material world and submerging herself in the Holy Spirit.[15] She also believed in mortalism, the belief that when the body dies, the soul dies also.[15] Another example of her divergence from the mainstream experience is that she saw herself as a prophetess. Recorded examples of her making prophetic statements occurred before she left England, while on the ship bound for New England, and most notably during her trial when she foresaw her own deliverance.[15] While prophesying played a small part in the religious culture of Elizabethan England, for a woman to do this was an open display of defiance toward the authority that men derived from their gender.[15]


Anne moved to what is now Brooklyn and died in an attack led by Wampage I,[1] aka Anhõõke in a 1500 strong retaliation by Algonquin peoples for the Pavonia Massacre, where 129 Dutch soldiers descended on the camps and killed 120 Native Americans, including women and children. Having opposed the attack, de Vries described the events in his journal:

Infants were torn from their mother’s breasts, and hacked to pieces in the presence of their parents, and pieces thrown into the fire and in the water, and other sucklings, being bound to small boards, were cut, stuck, and pierced, and miserably massacred in a manner to move a heart of stone. Some were thrown into the river, and when the fathers and mothers endeavored to save them, the soldiers would not let them come on land but made both parents and children drown…

Colonists had lived in peace with the Native Americans for nearly two decades, becoming friends, business partners, employees, employers, drinking buddies, and bed partners. The Council was alarmed about the consequences of their Dutch leader Kieft’s proposed crusade. As importantly, the Native Americans supplied the furs and pelts that were the economic lifeblood and the raison d’etre of the colony.

The attacks united the Algonquian peoples in the surrounding areas against the Dutch to an extent not previously seen.


Wampage I,[1] aka Anhõõke was the Sachem of the Siwanoy Indians of Westchester County, New York.

It is believed that the Siwanoys, under the leadership of Wampage, led the massacre of the family of Anne. It has been written that Wampage himself was the murderer of Hutchinson, and that he adopted the name of Anhõõke (Anne Hoek) due to an Indian tradition of taking the name of a notable person personally killed. On June 27, 1654, 50,000 acres (200 km²) of land reaching from what is currently the Bronx, west along Long Island Sound, to the Hutchinson River, were granted to Thomas Pell under the Treaty Oak near Bartow Pell Mansion in Pelham, with Wampage signing. The other Siwanoys who signed the treaty were Shawanórõckquot, Poquõrúm, Wawhamkus and Mehúmõw. Cockho, Kamaque and Cockinsecawa were three additional Siwanoys who signed as “Indyan Witnesses” to the “Articles of Agreement” section of the Treaty.[2]

Sources indicate that Wampage’s daughter Ann (or Anna) married Thomas Pell II, who was the third lord of Pelham Manor.[3][4][5]


The Founder of Concord Peter Bulkley or Bulkeley (January 31, 1583 – March 9, 1659) was an influential early Puritan minister who left England for greater religious freedom in the American colony of Massachusetts. He was a founder of Concord,[1] and was named by descendant Ralph Waldo Emerson in his poem about Concord, Hamatreya.[2] He was one of the ministers who sat during the church trial of Anne Hutchinson, which resulted in her excommunication from the Boston church.[8

American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Women Who Defied the Puritans, by Eve LaPlante (Harper Collins, 2004).

Anne Hutchinson: Brief Life of Harvard’s ‘Midwife,'” by Peter Gomes, Harvard Magazine (November/December, 2002).

Boston Globe, Interview with Eve LaPlante, “Heretic, or Centuries Before her Time?” May 8, 2004.

Governing the Tongue: The Politics of Speech in Early New England, by Jane Kamensky (Oxford University Press, 1997).

Mary Dyer
In her twenties, Mary was a close friend and student of Anne Marbury Hutchinson. Mary studied Quaker beliefs in the 1650s, she learned that they called divine revelation the Inner Light. Evangelical and Pentecostal Christians today would recognize it as the Holy Spirit speaking to one’s heart. Secular people would term it a conscience.  top-10-things-you-may-not-know-about.html


BELLEAU, a village and a parish in Louth district, Lincoln. The village stands near the Boston and Great Grimsby railway, in the vicinity of Claythorpe station, 4 miles NW by N of Alford. The parish includes also the chapelry of Claythorpe; and its Post Town is Alford. The name Belleau is derived from some fine springs of water arising from chalk rocks. Ruins exist of a monastery, comprising two gateways and part of a turret. The lands were given, in the time of Cromwell, to Sir Henry Vane. The living is a rectory, united with Aby, in the diocese of Lincoln. Value, £300.* Patron, Lord Willoughby d’Eresby. The church is an ancient edifice, with a small tower; and contains a fine effigy of a crusader.


Lecture from Eve LaPlante author of American Jezebel


[1] Pew boxes were bought by early church members to pay for the building.

[2] 20th century art philosopher Suzanne Langer in Feeling and Form.



[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antinomian_Controversy

[4] MassMoments.  

[5] https://sites.google.com/site/revjaniespahr/

[6] MassMoments.com

[7] In a 2012 lecture on women at Harvard Lizabeth Cohen reinforced that Harvard was “established in 1636 to educate an all-male clergy and that, Harvard by the 18th century had developed into a college to educate the “sons of the arriving mercantile elite.” During the industrial revolution of the 19th century, Boston bluebloods and Harvard, “rose together.” “The Harvard Graduate School of Education was the first to admit women in 1920. Harvard Medical School accepted its first female enrollees in 1945. While women began petitioning Harvard Law School for admittance in 1871 that school didn’t open its doors until 1950, 20 years behind most law schools in the country.


[8] Vale returned to England until the restoration of the monarchy where he was imprisoned for his role in its rebellion and then hanged.

[9] Winthrop and the Pequot peoples
The English conquerors appropriated Pequot lands under claims of a just war. They essentially declared the Pequot extinct by prohibiting speaking the name of the people. The few Pequot who managed to evade death or slavery later recovered from captivity by the Mohegan and were forced onto reservations in Connecticut Colony.

The colonists attributed the success of ending the heroic resistance of the Pequot tribe at their hands to an act of God:

Let the whole Earth be filled with his glory! Thus the lord was pleased to smite our Enemies in the hinder Parts, and to give us their Land for an Inheritance.[20]:20

This was the first instance wherein Algonquian peoples of what is now southern New England encountered European-style warfare. The idea of “total war” was new to them.  After the Pequot War, there were no significant battles between native peoples and colonists for about 38 years. This long period of peace came to an end in 1675 with King Philip’s War.


[10] Apocryphal Acts of John.