Professor Nicholas Bellantoni will discuss his new book The Long Journeys Home: The Repatriations of Henry ‘Opukaha’ia and Albert Afraid of Hawk. Henry ‘Opukaha’ia (ca. 1792—1818) and Itankusun Wanbli (ca. 1879—1900) lived almost a century apart and came from different Indigenous Nations – Hawaiian and Lakota, yet the circumstances of Western imperialism that led them to leave their homelands and come to Connecticut where they died and were buried have striking similarities. Both young men died while on their “journeys” to find fulfillment and both were buried in Connecticut cemeteries. In 1992 and 2008, descendant women had visions that their ancestors wished to “come home” and started the repatriation process of their remains.
Connecticut State Archaeologist Nicholas Bellantoni oversaw the archaeological disinterment and forensic identifications in returning these men to their respective Native families. The Long Journeys Home chronicles these significant stories as examples of the wide-reaching impact of colonialism and the resurgence of Hawaiian and Lakota cultures.
Nicholas F. Bellantoni is an associate adjunct professor in the anthropology department at the University of Connecticut and Emeritus Connecticut State Archaeologist at the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History.
Sponsored by the Friends of the Ledyard Libraries, this program is free and open to the public. Copies of The Long Journeys Home will be available for sale and signing.