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Three million people lined the parade route to watch the 2022 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City this morning. The large crowd viewed the Wampanoag Tribe’s “People of First Light” float that debuted in the parade. Millions others viewed historic parade on television on NBC.

The float was designed to tell the story of resilience, tradition and enduring vibrant culture. The float’s pathways symbolize the colors of the four directions. The Eastern Pine tree is adorned by wampum shells of the water and surrounded by sweetgrass, sassafras, and wild berry plant relatives.

Sitting in a place of honor atop the float were several elders from the Wampanoag Tribe of Mashpee in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

The “People of First Light” float was a collaboration between Joey Ammons and Wampanoag artist Julie Marden.

The Wampanoag Tribe, also known as The People of the First Light, have inhabited the Eastern coast of present-day Massachusetts for more than 12,000 years. In the centuries following first contact with colonizing settlers, forced assimilation silenced the Wampanoag language for over 150 years. However, through historical written documents by Wampanoag people, language and culture are again thriving today on this Indigenous land. 

Wampanoag Nations People, Lenape, and local and urban Native representatives on the float included: Gertrude “Kitty” Miller, John "Jim" Peters, Carol Wynne, Kristine Foster, Opalanietet Pierce, Ty Defoe, Jamelyn Ebelacker, Matt C. Cross, Louis Mofsie, Allen Brown, Jessica Ranville, and Mashpee Wampanoag Powwow Princess Amiyah Peters.

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Indigenous Direction co-founders Larissa FastHorse (Sicangu Lakota) and Ty Defoe (Oneida and Ojibwe) are committed to cultural protocols and ways of looking at the world that have existed on this continent for centuries. Rounding out the team, Associate Consultant and Project Manager for Indigenous Direction: Jamelyn Ebelacker (Santa Clara Pueblo), and Community Liaison, Siobhan Brown (Wampanoag).

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