Friday, April 27, 2012

Exploring Wellfleet's Indian Neck Beaches

I had never visited Burton Baker or Indian Neck Beach until this week. I know that sounds silly but it's true. Both beaches are located on Indian Neck, behind the jetty, visible from the pier. If you have a map of Wellfleet handy, check it out. Indian Neck juts out into the water. For a long time, I thought this piece of Wellfleet was named because of its shape from the air. Wrong! Turns out early settlers sent the native Pononakanets to a place named St. James Neck, creating a local “reservation,” if you will. The name evolved into “Indian” Neck because that was where “Indians” lived. Native Americans also died here, burying their dead in what we now call ossuaries. The Pononakanets called the place "Tuttumnest."

***This blog post is interrupted by a news flash you probably will not have heard on American television, radio, or newspaper. The United Nations is to begin an investigation of the living conditions of the 2.7 million Native Americans still living in the USA, descendents of those the white man didn’t manage to kill. Read all about it in this Guardian article. Now we return to our regular programming.***

The beach Sven and I explored was attractive and offered a small parking lot. I hate to think of the number of cars there in summer! A stiff breeze was blowing during our visit, making me think Indian Neck residents must have cooler temps than on the “mainland.” Most of the houses seem to be summer homes.

It gives a completely different perspective to view the town from across the harbor.

The Wellfleet Conservation Trust will host a walk on Indian Neck in September.

Only three questions for those of you who have summer memories of this part of Wellfleet:
1.) Is this beach Burton Baker or Indian Neck?
2.) If Indian Neck, where is Burton Baker?
3.) Who is Burton Baker Beach named after?