Indigenous Awareness Training

Indigenous Awareness, Cultural Sensitivity & Competence Training

for groups, organizations, educators, community leaders.

This training offers an Indigenous perspective and serves to increase awareness and understanding of Indigenous/Native history and contemporary experiences in general, and on Wôpanâak territory specifically on the island of Nôepe (Marthas Vineyard).


Colonial injustices, have ingrained our society, our communities and our experiences for 500 years; and it is time for repair and reconciliation. Native history, culture, and narratives have been attemptedly erased, underrepresented, and falsified, and they require our attention, understanding, and action in order to bring balance and true peace.

The premise of this training is that in today's world, building cultural competency is no longer an option for organizations, educators and community leaders. It's vital for educational organizations to represent truthful curriculum content, amplify silenced narratives, embrace respectful representations and language, address rampant cultural misappropriation of Native culture, and build wholesome relations with Native/Indigenous Peoples.

The training is for groups of 12 or more people, and consists of 4 sessions of 1.5hrs each, that can be offered in one full day, two half days or on 4 different days or evenings. Training can be offered in person or via zoom and can be customized to meet specific organizational needs.

  • Session 1 Open Up: Lay of the Land, Land Acknowledgements, white bias, awareness of cultural threads.

  • Session 2 Dive In: History of genocide, history of Nôepe, Native youth, cultural misappropriation, and language. 

  • Session 3 Process: Decompression session to process and learn how to decolonize from a heart space.

  • Session 4 Activate: Integration of learning, and ideas around your organization's values, actions, goals, and steps.

Costs: $1,500 for groups of up to 12 people, $2,400 up to 24 people.

Dates: Contact to inquire, coordinate and schedule.

Indigenous People Day 2022
Second Annual at FELIX NECK 
FREE and open to all - DONATIONS welcome and appreciated!

Join us for the Second Annual Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration on Nôepe, to acknowledge the Wôpanâak territory and presence. With speakers, drumming, music, and info tables. 


This Sassafras initiative will take place again this year on Indigenous Peoples Day 2022 at 4pm at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary. Join us to hear from Wôpanâak/Indigenous speakers why celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day matters. Speakers will address a variety of topics such as historic truths, contemporary impacts of "C" day, honoring Wôpanâak ancestors, and Indigenous peoples continued legacy and future.

It is time that we promote the commemoration and celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day, to make the general public more aware of our Wôpanâak presence, and the ongoing impacts of settler colonialism in general. The event will be opened by a spoken acknowledgment of the Wôpanâak territory and of Indigenous Peoples Day. Key note speakers include David Two Arrows Vanderhoop, and others t.b.a.

Date: Monday, October 10, 2022  from 4pm - 5:30pm

Location: Felix Neck, MassAudubon, Felix Neck Dr, Edgartown

See calendar

Earth Knowledge Fall Series 2022

Open to Wôpanâak and IBPOC adults with full tuition coverage!

Hybrid series of 4 gatherings via zoom and one in-person weekend gathering. 

Earth Knowledge is Sassafras new fall series that focuses on training mentors in the following areas:

  • Ancient Mentoring

  • Naturalist Knowledge

  • Traditional & Ancestral Skills

  • Addressing our Trauma 

  • Lifting up Native realities and voices

  • Identifying with the Land

  • Land Culture, permaculture, and restoration.

The primary goal for this series is to connect on a deep level to the land and each other. It is reparation time and Sassafras believes it is important to gather in a space with First Nations and IBPOC people. Sassafras is the holder of ancient knowledge and when we share with likeminded others, we can all grow, transform, and deepen our connection


This fall we will gather with a closed group as follows. We meet twice via zoom to orient, guide, open group conversation, and give some basic optional "homework" on connecting to the land at your home. 

Then we will gather in person at Sassafras for two full days during the weekend of October 29/30, approximate times are from 9am - 5pm, with a ceremonial fire on Saturday night.


After that, we will gather two more times via zoom in November and December to deepen and harvest our learning, to discuss our next steps, future collaborations, and upcoming Sassafras work & train opportunities. 


Cost: $450 or Full Repair Fund Coverage 

Dates:  4 Monthly Zoom Calls on Tuesday evenings on

Sept 20 , Oct 18, Nov 15 and Dec 13, 2022 from 6:30-8pm

In-Person Weekend on Sat and Sun Oct 29 and 30 (full days).

see calendar

PUBLIC EVENT: Truth about Thanksgiving 2022  
Location: OAK BLUFFS LIBRARY - Free event open to the public

We appreciate donations!

Speaking event on the truth about our Thanksgiving holiday hosted by Sassafras Earth Education at the Oak Bluffs Public Library. Talk by Wôpanâak elder David Two Arrows Vanderhoop will be followed by an interactive workshop encouraging all to activate in addressing harm and to bring healing to our island community and beyond.


The Thanksgiving tale we tell is a harmful lie, the objective of this event is to educate the general public on why and how it is tied to the origin myth of this country. During this event, there will be an Acknowledgement of the Wampanoag Territory and People, a Thanksgiving Address, an account of the true historic events that lead up to the celebration of this holiday, an explanation of why and how harm continues today, and a call to action to bring a message of truth to your dinner table.


  DUE to the robbery on 11/17 this event was rescheduled to:

Date: Monday November 21 from 5:30 - 7:30pm

Location: Oak Bluffs Public Library, 56R School St, Oak Bluffs, MA

See calendar

Truth about Thanksgiving 2022 

Location: Sassafras Earth Education

For many Native People the thanksgiving holiday is a reminder of the genocide, the theft of land, and the erasure of Native cultures.  

Its time to come together with tribal members and families, and other Native people to create a true awareness of our peoples and the U.S. history. David Two Arrows Vanderhoop invites tribal members and other Natives to a fire and talking circle to inform you about the truth and to invite you to express your views, feelings on this holiday as well as your vision for our future. When we come together in circle we can heal by sharing our stories and together we can create much needed change.

This event is held at Sassafras, at our new barn and the adjacent fire pit.

There will be baked goods, Sassafras tea and soup provided.

Date: Saturday November 19 from 3:30-5:30pm

Location: Sassafras Earth Education, 5 Church St, Aquinnah, MA

Free event, open to all tribal members/families and Natives.

Become a Volunteer

Sassafras is always on the lookout for people who like what we do and want to contribute and be a part of our community. We welcome all who are interested in short or long-term volunteer experiences or who have an interest in learning nature-based mentoring through service, please contact us!