Narragansett-Star Red T-Shirt
The Narragansett tribe are a Native American tribe of the Algonquian language group. They were historically one of the leading tribes of New England, controlling the west of Narragansett Bay in present-day Rhode Island, and also portions of Connecticut and eastern Massachusetts, from the Providence River on the northeast to Pawcatuck River on the southwest. The Narragansett culture has existed in the region for centuries. with extensive trade relations. The town of Narragansett, Rhode Island, is named after them. They consider themselves descendants of aboriginal people whose archaeological artifacts attest to presence in Rhode Island 30,000 years ago. ------------------------------ The first European contact was in 1524, when Giovanni de Verrazano visited Narragansett Bay. They escaped the epidemics that decimated tribes further south on the coast in 1617. European settlement in their territory did not begin until 1635, and in 1636 Roger Williams acquired land use rights from the Narragansett sachems. It was later that Europeans and Native Americans realized they had different conceptions of land use. ----------------------------------- As the Native Americans suffered extensive losses from King Philip's War, the Narragansett absorbed members of other, smaller tribes to keep an Indian identity. The Niantic tribe became fully merged into the Narragansett. During colonial and later times, tribe members also intermarried with Europeans, Africans and African-Americans, making spouses and children part of the tribe and keeping a tribal identity. ------------------- Although they lost control of much of their tribal lands during the state's late 19th c. "detribalization", Narragansetts kept a group identity. In the 20th century, they took action to have more control over their future. They regained 1,800 acres (7.3 km2) of their land in 1978, and in 1983 gained Federal recognition as a tribe. According to tribal rolls, there are approximately 2,400 members of the Narragansett Tribe today. They have closed the rolls. ------------- The museum of the Narragansett is the Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum in Exeter, Rhode Island. The school for the Narragansett children is the Nuweetooun School at the same museum. ----------------- The word "Narragansett" means, literally, "[the people] of/at the small, narrow point." Some members speak a form of the Algonquian languages. It had died out but tribal members were able partially to reclaim it from books in the early 20th century and then teach it to the next generations. The Narragansett spoke a Y-dialect, similar enough to the N-dialects of the Massachusett and Wampanoag to be mutually intelligible. Other Y-dialects include the Shinnecock and Pequot languages. ------------------ In the 17th century, Roger Williams, a co-founder of Rhode Island, learned the tribe's language, documenting it in his 1643 work, A Key Into the Language of America. Williams gave the tribe's name as "Nanhigganeuck", of which "Narragansett" seems to be an English corruption. English has absorbed a number of loan words from Narragansett and other closely related languages such as Wampanoag and Massachusett. Such words include quahog, papoose, powwow, squash, and succotash.