State Archives exhibition chronicles the history of Rhode Island’s First Nations
PROVIDENCE, RI – “What cheer, Netop.” The famous greeting of the Narragansett to
Roger Williams along the shore of the Seekonk River in 1636 still resonates
throughout the Ocean State today. A new exhibition at the Rhode Island State
Archives, entitled “First Nations who helped form Rhode Island” chronicles the
history of indigenous peoples, including the Narragansett, who occupied the lands of
present day Rhode Island and are the only federally recognized tribe with a
reservation located in Charlestown, RI.
“It’s exciting to see firsthand the amazing documentation of our rich and diverse
history,” Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea said. “I encourage all Rhode Islanders
to come and discover the historical treasures we have in our State Archives.”
Items on display include:
• Several early deeds between the colonists and the tribes residing in the
area of Narragansett Bay.
• Acts & Resolutions of the Rhode Island General Assembly concerning Native
American rights and their role in an ever expanding European population.
• Petitions from tribal members concerning the disposition of their lands.
• An array of photographs, including landmarks, structures, powwows and other
The exhibition will run through December.
The Rhode Island State Archives, a division of the Rhode Island Department of State,
is open to the public during regular business hours – Monday through Friday, 8:30 to
4:30 at 337 Westminster Street in downtown Providence. Validated parking is
available adjacent to the building at InTown Parking. Exhibitions of our state’s
historic archives are developed on a rotating basis throughout the year.