Girish Mahajan

The Narragansett Dawn

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Type  Monthly newspaper
Ceased publication  1936
Founded  1935
Founder(s)  Princess Red Wing and Ernest Hazard

The Narragansett Dawn was a monthly newspaper that discussed the history, culture and language of the Narragansett tribe. It was produced in 1935 and 1936 with a total of sixteen issues. The founders and editors of the paper were Princess Red Wing and Ernest Hazard. Both were Narragansett tribal members.

Contents

The newspaper came about because of the Narragansett people's need to retain their history and cultural identity in the wake of the Indian Reorganization Act. In many of the paper's editorials, Princess Red Wing invokes the Narragansett people's pride, often in reply to claims against their ancestry and purity during their detribalization by the state of Rhode Island in the 1880s.

Name

The name The Narragansett Dawn was chosen at a tribal meeting on December 4, 1934. It was said to signify "the awakening after so long and black a night of being civilized."

Slogan and seal

The Narragansett Dawn used the slogan "We Face East" on its cover. Its meaning is broken down as follows:

  • We - "Every descendant of the Narragansett Tribe of Indians"
  • Face - "Your Creator"
  • East - "With the first light, each dawn"
  • The cover also bears the official seal of the Narragansett Indian Tribe.

    Contributors

    Princess Red Wing, Editor

  • Princess Red Wing was born on March 21, 1896 in Sprague, Connecticut. Her birth name was Mary E. Congdon. She said that her mother chose to call her Princess Red Wing after the red wing blackbird "to fling her mission far with grace, for ears that harken for the uplift of my race."
  • Her mother was Wampanoag and her father was Narragansett. Through her mother, Red Wing is related to prominent Indians in American history such as Simeon Simons (who fought with George Washington) and Metacom ( or "King Philip") who led a war against the colonists in 1670s.

    She became Squaw Sachem of the New England Council of Chiefs in 1945, a position which allowed her to preside over sacred ceremonies and festivals. She was also a prominent storyteller in the Narragansett community, keeping alive the oral traditions of her tribe. She also preserved their history by founding the only Native American museum in Rhode Island, the Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum. Princess Red Wing died in 1987 at the age of 92.

    Ernest Hazard, Editor

    Marion W. Brown, Keeper of Records

    Chief Pine Tree, Business Manager/Writer

    Theodore Brown, Business Manager

    Francis Glasko, Business Manager

    Princess Wood Dove

    Lone Wolf

    Little Bear

    Sections

    Narragansett Tongue

  • This section contained lessons on common vocabulary, such as the names of animals, plants, and types of buildings, in the Narragansett language. There were 13 lessons in all.
  • Genealogy

  • This section traced the lineage, both paternal and maternal, of significant figures in the Narragansett community.
  • Narragansett Mailbox/Greetings From Friends

  • This section was similar to a "letter to the editor" section and contained letters written to the newspaper by its readers, both Indian and non-Indian. The letters mostly served to praise the paper or the tribe.
  • Identity Sections

  • This section described Narragansett items and values that displayed their cultural identity. They appear with varying titles pertaining to their topic, such as "Narragansett Fires" and "Pipe of Peace."
  • Milestones

  • This section contained small bits of news, such as the announcement of births, deaths, weddings, and notable visits, that occurred in and around the Narragansett reservation in Rhode Island.
  • Sunrise News

  • This section was written for each issue by the Keeper of Records and contained information on small, notable things that had taken place in the Narragansett community in each respective month.
  • Poetry

  • The newspaper published short, original poems by Narragansett writers, often with religious or natural themes. These poems were usually related to the Narragansett tribe or their values and ideas in some way. An excerpt: "All that eye and heart could own / Rich domains to roam at will / When the morning sun went down / See him on his eastern hill"
  • History

  • These short articles offered a Narragansett perspective on historical events such as the first Thanksgiving and King Philip's War.
  • References

    The Narragansett Dawn Wikipedia


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