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Narragansett

Title

Narragansett

Description

The Narragansett Indian Tribe has inhabited what is now the state of Rhode Island for over 30,000 years. Federally recognized in 1983, the tribe is now headquartered in Charlestown.

In addition to many historic deeds and letters, Narragansett people produced what is probably the first tribal magazine in New England, The Narragansett Dawn, from 1935-36. Today, Narragansett writers include the award-winning journalist John Christian Hopkins, also an inventive novelist; the poet Ella (Brown) Sekatau; and storyteller/author Paulla Dove Jennings.

To learn more about Narragansett history and people, visit the tribal website at narragansett-tribe.org, as well as the Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum in Exeter, RI.

Items in the Narragansett Collection

Indian Melodies (1845) by Thomas Commuck
Thomas Commuck (Narragansett) published his hymnal, Indian Melodies, in 1845. While Commuck clearly states that the purpose of this collection is to “make a little money,” to provide for the needy as well as his family, and to “spread the…

The Narragansett Dawn (1935-36)
The Narragansett Dawn was a monthly newspaper produced by members of the Narragansett tribe in Rhode Island from May 1935 through September 1936. The founders of the paper were Princess Red Wing and Ernest Hazard. They both also produced content for…

Lorèn Spears
Lorèn Spears, MsEd, (Narragansett/Niantic) is an educator, essayist, artist and two-term Tribal Councilwoman of the Narragansett Tribe in Charlestown, Rhode Island, where she currently resides. She is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island…

John Christian Hopkins
John Christian Hopkins is a Narraganset journalist, author, poet and public speaker who resides in Tuba City, Arizona. Hopkins was born in 1960 in Westerly, Rhode Island. In 1983, he enrolled at the University of Rhode Island, where he graduated with…

"Letter" (1959) by Chief Little Wolf (Mi'kmaq) to Princess Red Wing
In this letter, Little Wolf (writing from Roxbury, MA) wishes Red Wing a happy Thanksgiving and consoles her on the death of White Oak. He praises her museum and also references the Dovecrest Restaurant, on the same premises.

"To our Youth" by Cassius Champlin
Cassius A. Champlin was President of the Tribal Council during the 1930s, when Red Wing was publishing The Narragansett Dawn. In this letter or speech to tribal youth he extols the values of education and caring for each other.

"Animal Lore" by Lone Wolf
Lone Wolf (Lawrence W. Wilcox) was a frequent contributor to The Narragansett Dawn, which Red Wing edited and published between 1935 and 1936. This piece comes from Red Wing's files for the magazine; it seems not to have been published

"A Niantic Review" by Fred V. Brown (1935)
Fred V. Brown (Niantic/Narragansett) was a frequent contributor to The Narragansett Dawn, which Red Wing published and edited. This piece appeared in the June 1935 issue of the magazine.

"Letter or Speech to Native Women's Council" by Princess Red Wing
Transcription:

Fellow – Native Americans ——

In numbers there is force, for good or evil. Together we stand, divided we fall. The Native American has fell to his present state because of lack of unity, ambition & education.