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Wampanoag teen prays at graduation in native lingo

June 8, 2013

CAPE COD, Mass. (AP) — A Wampanoag tribal teenager dressed in traditional regalia has delivered the graduation prayer at Mashpee High School in his tribe’s native language.

Hundreds of people rose up for a standing ovation after Douglas Pocknett delivered the prayer at Saturday’s commencement ceremonies. The 18 -year-old is only the second member of his tribe to graduate dressed in tribal ceremonial clothing.

Pocknett is the first student at Mashpee High School to earn his foreign language credits by demonstrating proficiency in his tribal language known as Wopanaak.

The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe has lived in the area known today as Massachusetts for more than 12,000 years. They earned again federal recognition in 2007, capping a process that took more than 30 years.

There are about 2,600 enrolled citizens of the tribe.

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