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Why We Do the Festival

At last year's Festival of American Folklife, Gladys Widdiss, a Wampanoag Indian from Gay Head on Martha's Vineyard, sat in a rocking chair under a white tent on the National Mall of the United States. She picked up the microphone to speak to some of the more than 1.5 million people who visit the Festival. Gladys spoke of her pottery, made from the clay of the Gay Head cliffs, and of her efforts to teach young people about the traditional Wampanoag respect for the earth and its natural environment. She spoke of her own life, and with her voice cracking from the emotion of the moment, Gladys said, "I'm a Wampanoag Indian grandmother. And that

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