The Mystery that Shows a Mutual Respect Between Native Americans and The Scots
Firstly can I introduce myself I am heriditary Clan Chief of the Pocasset Wampanoag Tribe Pokanoket Nation, otherwise known as Daryl Black Eagle Jamieson Suki Wompsikuk (Black Eagle). I live in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, and have long known about my combined Native American and Scottish Ancestry. My surname is Scottish and even have red haired relatives on my Father’s side of the family. A few years ago I did a DNA test, this came back with a high percentage of Scottish, Irish and Scandinavian, this did knock me sideways – I’m a Chief from a long line of Chiefs, how is this possible?. My Mother’s side of the family were Boyds and we also have Fergussons . My Jamieson ancestor looks like it possibly goes back to the 1700s with a John Jamieson.
As well as being a police constable I am a drummer and am often on the trail, here I meet so many people who have a similar story, they too have Native American and Scottish ancestry, this has always been of interest to me. We are all living proof of how our ancestors really did unite. People can think the colonists were separate and it was a constant battle, but many were welcomed in by my people and other tribes.
The biggest war we had was King Philip’s War, sometimes called The First Indian War (1675-1676). It was a battle for survival. The war is named for the main leader of the Native American side, Metacom, who had adopted the English name “King Philip”. This in my opinion was the deadliest of wars, my ancestors were fighting for their lives. So knowing this was the climate early settlers from Scotland would have settled on this land and the many stories and mysteries we have in Scottish legend and in my Native American ancestry is of great interest.
Some mysteries go back a lot further, the most famous of which is The Westford Knight. an engraved stone of a Medieval Knight holding the shield. On the shield is engraved the Coat of Arms of the Gunn Family.
The legend recounts how a Scottish Chief of the Clan Gunn, Sir James Gunn visited Westford, Massachusetts accompanied by Henry Sinclair of Orkney. His expedition to the New World took him to what is now America, the land of my ancestors some ninety years before Columbus claimed to have discovered America.
The effigy of a mediaeval Knight in armour is reputed to be Sir James Gunn.
The two sailed to Massachusetts to what is Westford Massachusetts now on the highest hill by a small inland tributary. Somewhere around that Hill James Gunn died and a stone was inscribed with the Clan Gunn Coat of Arms and a knight with a broken sword. This was in the land of the Massachuset Indians bordering Pennacook Land.
As part of their travels these Scottish explorers lived with the Mic Mac Indians and built a small encampment. They then travelled through other tribal lands . The Mic Mac guide probably carried Wampum beads from his nation as an ambassador to travel to our lands. The tribespeople do not like people travelling through their territories.
There is no evidence to say that Henry Sinclair did indeed go on this trip but this is a story commonly told and still celebrated to this day. Henry Sinclair was also known as ‘Glooscap’ to the Native Americans. Clan Sinclair hold a yearly celebration of this. Interestingly the Sinclair flag is very similar to that of the Mic Mac Indians.
Some believe a vital piece of evidence sadly got destroyed. In the 1800s an upright buriel of an individual wearing medieval armour was discovered. Warriors in some ancient societies were buried in an upright position. It was right along the Taunton River in the town of Fall River, in Bristol County, Massachusetts. To this day no one knows who it was. After the body was recovered the story says it was burned in a fire. The only thing that remains is a diagram. Find out more >
Another mystery is ‘The Boat Stone’ this is thought to be the marker of a medieval grave. It shows a 14th century sailing vessel.
The group later travel to Narraganset Bay what is now Newport deep in the heart of the Pokanoket Nation and built a tower. This is now called the Newport Tower which has been the subject of the Freemason History. In September 2014 the New Hampshire Highland Games in Lincoln NH has the biggest Games on East Coast. This is very close to the Westford Knight, a 5-6 hour journey.
How much of this story is true we’ll probably never know but it is a story that really entwines Native Indians and the Scots and in doing so shows a mutual respect.
Back in 2014 I was privileged to attend a ceremony at the Westford Knight with the now Chief of Clan Gunn, Iain Gunn, at the time he was Clan Commander and was later made Chief, the first Chief for more than 230 years.
It was Clan Gunn North America’s Annual Meeting. Iain Gunn and his wife Bunty came to the New Hampshire Highland Games. We had a general meeting of the Clan and Sunday then traveled to Massachusett’s to see the Westford Knight inscription. Accompanying us was the author David S. Brody who wrote Cabal of the Westford Knight, a fictional story based on the historical mysteries in Westford.
As part of the ceremony I presented lain Gunn and Rick Gunn with a warriors necklace and Ian & Bunty with Traditional Necklaces from our Nation.
So mysteries from the past are still bringing us together.