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Narragansett

NARRAGANSETT

NARRAGANSETT. Narragansetts first encountered Europeans in 1524. Relatively unaffected by the massive epidemic of 1616–1617, they became players in the fur trade and a major power in southern New England. In 1636 the tribe allowed Roger Williams and other Puritan dissidents to settle in their territory (now southern Rhode Island), and then joined the English in the Pequot War. Their relationship quickly soured, although negotiators managed to prevent war. But when King Philip's War erupted in 1675, an English preemptive strike drove the tribe into the conflict. Ninigret, sachem of the neighboring Niantics, remained neutral; his community drew many survivors and gradually became known as Narragansett. By 1750 Ninigret's descendents were selling tribal lands to pay for their rich lifestyle, alienating most in the tribe. After the Revolution many left for Brothertown in New York. Those remaining became the last autonomous tribe


in the region, governed by an elected council. In 1880 Rhode Island decided to terminate the tribe and sell its reserve. But kinship and gatherings continued to bring Narragansetts together; the tribe incorporated in 1934 and in 1978 won 1,800 acres from the state. In April 1983 the Narragansett tribe was the first in southern New England to win federal recognition, and in 2000 counted about 2,400 members.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Campbell, Paul R., and LaFantosie, Glenn W. "Scattered to the Winds of Heaven: Narrangansett Indians, 1676–1880." Rhode Island History 37, no. 3 (1978): 66–83.

Simmons, William S. "Narragansett." In Handbook of North American Indians. Edited by William C. Sturtevant et al. Volume 15: The Northeast, edited by Bruce G. Trigger. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1978.

Daniel R.Mandell

See alsoIndian Claims Commission .

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Narragansett

Narragansett (năr´əgăn´sət), Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). Part of the Eastern Woodlands culture (see under Natives, North American), in the early 17th cent. they occupied most of Rhode Island, from Narragansett Bay on the east to the Pawcatuck River on the west. They were the largest and strongest tribe in New England. The Narragansett escaped the great pestilence of 1617 that swept through S New England, and the remnants of tribes who had suffered joined them for protection, making the Narragansett a powerful people. In 1636, Canonicus, the Narragansett chief, sold Roger Williams land on which to settle. Williams gained great influence over the Narragansett, inducing them to become the allies of the Massachusetts colonists in the Pequot War (1637). The Narragansett in 1674 numbered some 5,000. The next year witnessed the outbreak of King Philip's War, which destroyed Native American power in S New England. The Narragansett shared the common fate. Their fort near the site of Kingston, R.I., was attacked (1675) by a colonial force under Josiah Winslow, and in that engagement, known as the Great Swamp Fight, the Narragansett under Canonchet lost almost a thousand men. The survivors migrated to the north and to the west, and a few joined the Mahican and the Abnaki; but a number of them returned and settled among the Niantic near Charlestown, R.I., the combined group taking the Narragansett name. Their numbers steadily declined, and by 1832 there were 80 left. However, by 1990 there were about 2,500 Narragansett in the United States.

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"Narragansett." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Narragansett

Nar·ra·gan·sett / ˌnarəˈgansit/ (also Nar·ra·gan·set) • n. (pl. same or -setts) 1. a member of an American Indian people originally of Rhode Island. They came into conflict with the New England colonists in the 17th century, and few now remain. 2. the Algonquian language of this people.

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Narragansett

Narragansett Algonquian-speaking tribe of Native North Americans, who occupied part of Rhode Island. Once the most powerful New England group, they were almost entirely wiped out during King Philip's War (1675–76).

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"Narragansett." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Narragansett

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