Please visit the museum to view the latest installment of the Legendary Newburyporters, Saunkskwa of Survivance.


The “Saunkskwa of Survivance” sculpture is an artistic tribute to the strength, wisdom, creativity and authenticity of Indigenous women everywhere who continue to use survivance strategies to counter the ongoing legacy of settler colonialism and loss of children, land, resources and culture through innovative change, resistance and persistence. Her child, held aloft, symbolically celebrates Native peoples today and their hopes for future generations.

The sculpture recognizes the Indigenous agency of historical women leaders. Saunkskwa (sunk-squaw) is an honorific Algonquian term for a female sachem leader. Survivance is a contemporary term that describes the process of adaptive resiliency in the face of adversity.  The “Saunkskwa of Survivance” sculpture honors the Pawtucket-Pennacook-Abenaki and Wabanaki Indigenous Peoples who have stewarded n’dakina (this homeland) and nebi (waters) of the Molodemak (Merrimack) river, where the Newburyport Custom House Maritime Museum is located.