A Multicultural History on Display in Sag Harbor

Native American life at Eastville house
A painting by David Bunn Martine, left, a Shinnecock artist, served as a colorful backdrop for a photo with Georgette Grier-Key, director of the Eastville Community Historical Society, at the opening of the society’s new exhibit, “Native American Life on the East End.” Durell Godfrey Photos

"Native American Life on the East End," an exhibition of than 60 artifacts, including tintypes, cabinet cards, vintage and contemporary photographs, and original artwork, which opened on Saturday at the Eastville Community Historical Society, 139 Hampton Street, Sag Harbor, is a testament to Native Americans on the eastern part of Paumanok, the Native American name for Long Island, from the Paleo-Indian period, which lasted from approximately 15,000 to 7,000 B.C., to the present time. It will remain on view through Oct. 7.

“Many people think Eastville is all African-American,” said Georgette Grier-Key, the society’s executive director, “but we’ve always been a diverse and multicultural community. The exhibition represents the Montaukett, the Shinnecock, and the Manhasset, who were on Shelter Island.”

Since joining the society as executive director, Dr. Grier-Key has focused on the different backgrounds of those Eastville represents. “There are three different populations, which is why our tagline is ‘Linking Three Cultures,’  ” she said. “The African-American, Native American, and European immigrants built a church together, worshipped together, and were interred together at St. David A.M.E. Zion Cemetery, which is important because at that time Oakland Cemetery was segregated.”

The exhibition is dedicated to avoiding the stereotypical images of Native Americans and instead to showcase historical portraits from the society’s collection. The artwork on exhibit is by David Bunn Martine, who lives on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation.

An extensive roster of public programs will accompany the exhibition, beginning on July 26, when Mr. Martine, a writer as well as an artist, will deliver the first of three “Hooked on Heritage” lectures from 4 to 6 p.m. Certain Moves, a Southampton band familiar to East End music enthusiasts, will perform from 5 to 8 p.m. on Aug. 5, with a rain date on Aug. 12.

Allison McGovern, an archaeologist, will speak on Aug. 16 at 4 p.m. about a collection of archaeological items found in East Hampton and Southampton Towns, which the center acquired from Long Island University. The final talk will be by Tom Clavin of Sag Harbor, a prolific author and East Hampton Press columnist, on Aug. 30 from 4 to 6.

Mr. Martine will be back to lead a wigwam workshop on five successive Saturdays beginning Sept. 2 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. And on Sept. 30, immediately after the final workshop, a celebration of a soon-to-be released book by Mr. Martine will take place.

The exhibit includes artifacts, tintypes, cabinet cards, and vintage and contemporary photographs.