Four nations speeches mark the end of Mayflower 400 commemoration

Dec 08, 2021

A series of speeches from our four Mayflower 400 partners officially marked the end of this ground-breaking commemoration.

Click here to watch and hear key representatives from the UK, the USA, the Wampanoag Nation and the Netherlands.

The marking of this seminal event in world history stands apart from previous anniversaries, thanks to its commitment to inclusivity.

Four centuries since the Mayflower's transatlantic voyage, all aspects of the story were explored through a series of cultural events, exhibitions and projects.

Speaking on behalf of the UK is Adrian VinkenChair of the Mayflower 400 Compact - the international partnership established to commemorate the sailing in 1620.

Adrian discusses the crucial roles each of these locations played in the Mayflower story. He also explains how important it was that the traditional, simplistic narrative - of righteous Pilgrims and noble natives - had to be confronted.

Yael Lempert is the former Chargé d'Affaires for the Embassy of the United States of America in London, UK.

In her speech, Yael praises the unique four-nation partnership. She also talks about President Joe Biden’s intent to make it a priority to respect tribal sovereignty and self-governance.

For more than 12,000 years, the Wampanoag Nation has inhabited present-day Massachusetts and Eastern Rhode Island - where the Mayflower passengers arrived on the shores some four centuries ago.

Yet the impact of the colonists’ arrival on the indigenous people who already lived in North America had previously been widely marginalised in the telling of the Mayflower story.

For more than a decade, Mayflower 400 worked with the Wampanoag people to help keep the stories of their ancestors alive.

Paula Peters is a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe and founder of Native American creative agency SmokeSygnals. 

During an emotional speech, Paula speaks from her heart about the work that has gone into raising awareness of the shared history of the nations and confronting the difficult truths of the Mayflower story.

Some 400 years ago, the republic of the Netherlands was already home to many separatist groups and religious refugees.

The Mayflower Pilgrims settled in Leiden in the early 17th century and went on to cement their own place in Dutch history.

Karel van Oosterom is ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

He looks at how the Mayflower 400 commemoration acknowledged the past and also represents an opportunity for the future - celebrating the enduring friendship between the UK, the US, the Wampanoag and the Netherlands.

These four historic speeches each form part of a legacy that will help future generations to better understand the Mayflower story.

  • Watch them all here.
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