One didn't speak English very well, and so hardly said anything. The other man asked me if there were any Indian centers in the area.
Due to their appearance and accents (an Indian accent over proper British English), I assumed that they were recent immigrants, and were asking if there were any cultural centers or support organizations for people from India. When I asked a few clarifying questions to this affect, I found I was absolutely wrong.
It turns out that they lived in India and were visiting the Boston area on vacation. What they wanted was to visit a re-created Native American Indian village, to see how Indians lived before Europeans settled the area.
I didn't know of any right off, but I know the kind of place (such as the SunWatch Indian Village in Dayton, OH, where I went to college). I did a couple internet searches, but a search for "native american village massachusetts" wasn't very helpful and a search for "indian site massachusetts" turned up Indian restaurants.
When the men saw I wasn't finding anything right away, one of them offered some advice:
No, no, not "indian" like me. We want to see bows and arrows. Try searching for "red indian."
As racially-insensitive as America can be, "red indian" is just not a term we use in this country. It made me laugh because it's definitely a British thing to say - it's even said in the Mary Poppins movie.
I explained how that phrase isn't used here, but he insisted I try it anyway - again, nothing.
After that, we got more creative, and ended up finding a few resources - but I have to say that I am surprised at the scarcity of such a thing in this part of the country. Here's what we found, including history and art museums:
- Index of Native American Resources on the Internet, with links for each state
- "Praying Indian Village" (more here), but we couldn't tell if this site is open to the public
- Wampanoag Homesite at the Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, MA
- Mashpee Wampanoag Native American Sites and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Museum in Mashpee, MA
- Robbins Museum of Native Americans of the Massachusetts Archaeological Society in Middleborough, MA
- Native American Art Collection at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA
This list isn't exactly what the patrons wanted (and I don't think they were up for a drive to Dayton). But by doing this search with them, I think they felt comfortable that we came up with a pretty good list of what is out there. I still feel like there should be more, but they left happy - the Plimoth Plantation site being their first stop.