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Memory LandsKing Philip's War and the Place of Violence in the Northeast$
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Christine M. DeLucia

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300201178

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300201178.001.0001

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Habitations by Narragansett Bay

Habitations by Narragansett Bay

Coastal Homelands, Encounters with Roger Williams, and Routes to Great Swamp

(p.121) 3 Habitations by Narragansett Bay
Memory Lands

Christine M. DeLucia

Yale University Press

This chapter unfolds how Narragansetts understood the areas around Narragansett Bay as vital homelands connecting land and water, focusing especially on conceptions of swamps as valuable, powerful locales that served critical ecological functions. It tracks how Narragansetts interacted with early New England colonizers during the formation of Rhode Island, including the exiled Roger Williams, and experienced difficult pressures in the seventeenth century prior to the outbreak of war in 1675, entailing controversies over land, wampum, sovereignty, and trading relationships. It examines the devastating colonial attack on a Narragansett and Wampanoag encampment inside the Great Swamp in December 1675, and how survivors of that devastating massacre regrouped and navigated new challenges in colonial legal arenas and an emerging tribal reservation system. It then examines a series of colonial monumentalizing activities in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, which developed in tandem with rising attitudes of anti-Indian racism and exclusionary politics, culminating in the forced “detribalization” of the Narragansetts by the state of Rhode Island in the 1880s.

Keywords:   Homelands, Swamps, Rhode Island, Roger Williams, Wampum, Massacre, Tribal reservation, Racism, Detribalization

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