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CHARLESTOWN - The earliest recorded history of people living in southern Rhode Island dates back hundreds of years. Before the Civil and Revolutionary wars, before Roger Williams helped lay the foundation of this state, and before the first European explores ever set sail into the Narragansett Bay, there were indigenous American people.
These indigenous people, specifically the Narragansett Indian Tribe, were the firsts to occupy the areas we now refer to as Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton, and they would like to extend an invitation to all current Rhode Islanders to join them in celebration of their history.
The tribe will be hosting its 336th Recorded Annual August Meeting on Saturday, August 13, and Sunday, August 14, at the Narragansett Reservation off of Route 2 in Charlestown.
To put that into perspective, on July 4, 2011, Americans celebrated the 235th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The Annual August Meeting of the Narragansett Indian Tribe has been celebrated at least 101 more times than that.
â€śThis is our 336th meeting by European standards,â€ť said Tribal Director of Administration Anthony Dean Stanton, â€śbut as far as we our concerned, it has been from the beginning of time until now.â€ť
According to Stanton, this is the tribeâ€™s holy time, and also serves as an opportunity for all Rhode Islanders to learn about the tribe.
â€śWe want people to know that the tribe still exists and lives and operates,â€ť he said. â€śWe hope to educate and enlighten the general public.â€ť
The meeting will include traditional ceremonies and church services at the Narragansett Indian Church on the reservation. All of the tribal government members will be in attendance, including Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas, Medicine Man Lloyd Wilcox and the 9-member Tribal Council.
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