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A Struggle for Heritage

Professor Christopher Matthews’ research and book examining race and racism in a community on Long Island’s north shore are highlighted in a Newsday feature.

Posted in: Anthropology, Homepage News and Events, Research

collage photo of artifacts and old images from the Setauket, Long Island community

Christopher Matthews, a professor in the Anthropology department, was featured in a recent Newsday story for his research in Setauket, New York, a village on the north shore of Long Island.

Matthews’ research and book, “A Struggle for Heritage: Archaeology and Civil Rights in a Long Island Community,” along with a “counter-map” of the community, aim to spotlight and preserve the history of African American and Indigenous peoples in Setauket. The Long Island community has deep historical roots where tales of colonial settlers abound. But the stories of the Native Americans and African Americans who made the place home for hundreds of years have often been overlooked in historical narratives.

The counter-map of Setauket repopulates the community’s landscape with old and new sites and stories of the people of color that have lived there and contributed to the community’s well-being and identity. The counter-map provides a way to understand better the distinct historical experience of the Native American and African American community by showing their continuous presence across both space and time, such that there can be no Setauket without them, even though they play almost no role in the way the story of the village is told today.

Read the full Newsday feature or explore a PDF of the print version of the story which showcases additional images and artifacts from Matthews’ research.

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