Friday, April 9, 2010

Roger Williams and the Naragansetts

The American Indian Studies Program at Cal State University has done us the service of creating "Indians of North America - The Native American Experience." Their collection of historical images features a few that are relevant to Algonkian Church History.

The Naragansett name has come up in my previous posts because some of the genetic makeup of the Stockbridge and especially the Brothertown Indians comes from the Naragansett Nation.

Here is Cal Tech's description of the above engraving (property of the Library of Congress):

London-born Roger Williams (c.1603-1683) was an American Puritan leader and founder of Rhode Island. Banished from Massachusetts in 1636 for his separatist ideas, he set out with a few followers and went to Rhode Island. There he befriended the Narragansett Indians and bought land from them to settle on, naming the town Providence. Williams firmly believed in treating the Indians justly and humanely; he encouraged his fellow colonists to pay the Indians fairly for their land. In 1643, he published a dictionary of the Algonquian language, an endeavor which helped further friendly relations between the settlers and the Narragansetts. Providence
became a safe haven for many people, among them Quakers, Baptists, and Jews, who fled the religious persecution of the New England settlements.

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