Your voice is your superpower. That is a truth I believe and practice every day in my work and as an Indigenous woman, mother, sister, friend and daughter. I bring our voices to the table in every room I step into. I work to find spaces and places to bring the Indigenous people of RI to the forefront of our collective society. But I don’t use the word activist because just existing as a Native woman is a form of resistance.
This is the first time Motif has published an issue that focuses on Indigenous people, and our timing was deliberate. We’ve relied on Indigenous voices from a variety of backgrounds to tell stories that speak to who we are today, not who we were, so that when you join your holiday tables, you will do so with better understanding and greater awareness.
I hope your new awareness will motivate you to learn more and inspire you to head to Tomaquag Museum in Exeter, RI’s only Indigenous museum, or attend The Narragansett Tribes Green Corn Thanksgiving (Pow-Wow), which is the oldest recorded gathering in the US and takes place the second weekend of August in Charlestown.
Indigenous people remain here even after all of the trauma and erasure that colonization has tried to inflict. There is no history of RI without the inclusion of the Narragansett Indian Tribe, and it is my opinion that without the inclusion of this nation’s Indigenous people, there can be no just future.
Sam Cullen-Frye, guest editor