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Dec 20, 2023
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — A few years back, Sage Brook Carbone was attending a powwow at the Mashantucket Western Pequot reservation in Connecticut when she noticed signs in the Pequot language.
Carbone, a citizen of the Northern Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island, thought back to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she has lived for much of her life. She never saw any street signs honoring Native Americans, nor any featuring Indigenous languages.
She submitted to city officials the idea of adding Native American translations to city street signs. Residents approved her plan and will install about 70 signs featuring the language of the Massachusett Tribe, which English settlers encountered upon their arrival.
“What a great, universal way of teaching language,” she said of the project done in consultation with a a member of the Massachusett Tribe and other Native Americans.
“We see multiple languages written almost everywhere, but not on municipal signage,” she said. “Living on a numbered street, I thought this is a great opportunity to include Native language with these basic terms that we’re all familiar with around the city.”