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390 A Summit Road
Exeter, RI, 02822
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(401)491-9063

Tomaquag Museum is dedicated to educating the public and promote thoughtful dialogue regarding Indigenous history, culture, arts, Mother Earth and to connect to native issues of today.

"BELONGINGS" Blog

Belonging(s) for December 2016

Marketing Assistant

Tomaquag “Belonging(s)” Blog

December 2016

 

Belonging(s): “A close relationship among a group and personal or public effects”

 

 “Kunoopeam” (Welcome)!

    The close of a very eventful year is upon us and we at Tomaquag Museum have so much to be grateful for! For “the little museum that could” we have been the recipient of national and state honors as well as individual awards. More recently our fearless leader received a2016 Excellence award from the New England Museum Association (NEMA). “People are what make our museums great, and NEMA’s members are some of the most talented and dedicated people in the field. NEMA is proud to honor our colleagues’ extraordinary effort and commitment to the New England museum community.” For more information on NEMA please visit https://www.nemanet.org. In addition to receiving numerous accolades, we received funding from various sources that helped us do work that allowed us to continue fulfilling our mission. This assistance helped us increase our staff from three to seven with one on the way. No, we’re not having a baby but we will soon have a new part-time archivist. For a complete list of our partners please visit http://www.tomaquagmuseum.org.

    As I was putting our final blog of the year together, I realized that we will be celebrating the first anniversary of Belonging(s) in January 2017. I remember being asked by our fearless and “trusting” leader to create and write the blog including naming it. “In my head I was thinking what? I don’t think I heard that right, doesn’t she know that I dislike writing? Are you kidding me, I don’t know anything about blogging. That’s social media stuff my limit is playing Candy Crush on Facebook." Hence the following disclaimer in the January 2016 blog, “I am also the writer/manager of this blog, which is my first attempt at blogging. So I pretty much am hoping I don’t mess things up or bore you to death.” I did miss a few months but as a reminder I did apologize. In the past year I have learned quite a bit about blogging and have been given full responsibility for Belonging(s). I have created staff and guest bloggers guidelines as well as new objectives and goals. In fact I have been given the title of Editor, however, I will always be a collections manager first. Moving forward TM will work to meet the following goals:

 

Offer multidimensional and authentic communication

    The blog provides opportunity to move beyond a single, institutional voice to a more informal dialogue that incorporates a diverse set of perspectives.

 

Increase relevance and currency

    The blog features regular brief updates alongside compelling photos, short videos, and behind the scenes insights into the work of TM.

 

Build Community

    The blog creates opportunities to build ongoing relationships with online audiences. When readers respond to blog content—whether by posting comments on the blog itself or on related social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter—they are participating in a conversation with TM. The blog promotes an interactive and social experience.

 

Expand promotional outreach

    The blog supplies a regular supply of substantive content that supplements and extends the messages featured on the website, social media platforms and in press materials. It attracts visitors to the museum’s physical and virtual offerings and showcases the breadth of our collections and programming.

 

    As the holidays approach, I thought it would be nice to share a tradition that celebrates the many blessings that we have received throughout the year.

 

Nikommo

 

    What is Nikommo? The Nikommo is a traditional thanksgiving marking the first winter moon and showing our gratitude for our lives' blessings by giving away to others.  Not just our excess, but as noted in our history, often the majority of our worldly goods.  A Nikommo is a thanksgiving feast that brings together the whole community.  In historic times, the Nikommo thanksgiving had upwards of 1,000 people attending.  Today, they range in size but 100 is a good average of people who attend the thanksgiving.  The Nikommo includes a feast, storytelling, music, dance, socializing and the giveaway. 

Below is a more contemporary version of this thanksgiving event written by the museum’s director in 2011.

 

A Tomaquag Nikommo

 

    At the first winter moon, we gather to celebrate Nikommo. Nikommo is a feast honoring the Creator's gifts. Mukhasunee Pashau greets the people as others set the feast. People visit from far and near, Narragansett, Pequot, Wampanoag, Mohegan, Tuscarora, Lakota and non-Native guests alike.

    Each visitor brings a give-away. The gifts are for those in need in the Narragansett community. Food, clothing, toys, pottery, baskets and other items are given. A Give-away is part of our cultural traditions. Many moons ago, our relatives would have give-aways for as many as 1000 people. Today we have various sized give-aways, but the average is more like 100 people. Today we give to help those in need and to connect to our tradition. We give as part of our worship or spirituality. It was a spiritual giving, not a material giving. Our ancestors often gave beyond their means. This has been pasted down to us and there are still individuals who continue in this tradition. However, the Tomaquag Nikommo does not require it.

    Nikommo begins with a ceremony of Thanksgiving, Kutampanisha-Dawn smudges the circle of people. Smudging is a purification ceremony-to purify your mind, body and spirit through a cleansing with medicinal herbs such as sweet-grass or cedar. A pray is given in both the Narragansett language and in English. Others are given the opportunity to share in prayers of thanksgiving. Sherente sings and drums an honor song: Neeawon Nahahiganseck Numenaki Nupeetooamun-We are Narragansett. We are Strong. We are Proud. It is followed by the Friendship Dance-everyone gets into line behind the lead singer. They put their left hand on the right shoulder of the person in front of them, and dance to the rhythm of the rattle. 

    Time to feast! All enjoy succotash, corn chowder, corn bread, roast turkey, venison stew, Three Sister's soup, corn relish, cranberry muffins, cornmeal cookies, and mint and sassafras teas. Kamonetop plays the flute for all to enjoy. 

    Games begin! Hubub or Bowl game is played. "Hub Hub Hub" is shouted by the players. Wesly has 5 reds, Silver Arrow has only 3. What fun! Who will win? Others play Moccasin Game. Can they guess where the hider is? The quartz stone was in the third moccasin. They sing and drum again. The loudest group is sure to win.  Nikommo-a feast and give-away. 

 

Kutaputush Kittantoowat. Thank you, Creator. 

 

Lorén Spears, Executive Director

 

On Saturday, December 3, 2016, from 10:00am-2:00pm, come celebrate Nikommo with us. Please bring a small gift to donate to our giveaway that will benefit Narragansett families in need.

 

Additional resources:

 

http://artways.libsyn.com/nikkommo-storytelling Narragansett Elder and storyteller Paulla Dove Jennings.

 

Koller, Jackie French. Nickommoh! A Thanksgiving Celebration. Ateneum Books for Young Readers, NY. 1999.

 

Have a safe and happy holiday! See you next year!

Kim Peters, Editor

The Tomaquag “Belonging(s)” Blog, is a monthly conversation dedicated to the happenings, musings of staff, and a peek at the collections of the Tomaquag Museum. We welcome guest bloggers, and topics relevant to Native American Museums and Indian Country, especially those located in the New England area.

Disclaimer: 

This site is for informational purposes only and does not represent the official views of the Tomaquag Museum. The Tomaquag Museum accepts no liability for the content, accuracy or spelling errors of this site. Any views expressed on this site are those of the individual post author only. That includes me guest bloggers, commentators, and family pets.

Unless otherwise noted, Tomaquag Museum holds copyright to the material on this site that includes images. If you see something that you would like please contact us. We might let you use it.

This site provides external links for informational purposes only. The appearance of external hyperlinks on this sitedoes not constitute endorsement by the Tomaquag Museum of the linked websites, or the information, products or services contained therein. The Tomaquag Museum does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations nor does it take responsibility for any loss or damage suffered as a result of using any information published on any of the pages linked to a third party website. This includes breaking out in hives.

The editor, that’s me and our website guru who wishes to remain anonymous have the right to remove any comments deemed to be spam including those that comes in a can, profanity, language or concepts deemed offensive and those that attack a person individually. 

 

Belongings for November, 2016

Marketing Assistant

Tomaquag “Belonging(s)” Blog
November 2016
Belonging(s)
“A close relationship among a group and personal or public effects”
Hello and “Kunoopeam” (Welcome)!

In this months Belonging(s) Blog, we will be talking about a special project that the Tomaquag Museum (TM) has been working on for several months. I have also included several links to statistics and recent articles.  TM continues to successfully position itself as an agent of social change for Indigenous people of Rhode Island. The project titled Indigenous Empowerment Network (IEN) is sponsored by Third Sector New England’s (TSNE) Inclusion Initiative Grant Program. TSNE’s program encourages nonprofits to accelerate their commitments to solving the persistent and systemic problems that perpetuate poverty and inequality in the New England region through collaboration. TSNE’s vision is to promote the development of “inclusive communities” through support and technical assistance for cross-sector networks in communities of color working to address the root causes of poverty in six main areas—arts & culture, education, healthcare, environmental justice, community and economic development, and youth development.

For more information on Third Sector New England and their programs, go to http://tsne.org. Not only does Tomaquag’s IEN project focus on raising awareness of issues related to poverty, it opens the door for more meaningful dialogue. More importantly, the community-led project goes one step further by implementing programs that help eradicate poverty in Indigenous communities located in Rhode Island. For me, it evokes the spirit of…“Less talking and more doing”. I believe that museums can and must play a much deeper role in the communities they serve, especially underserved communities.

 

 

According to Executive Director Lorén Spears, “Education is a means to end poverty." However, for communities that have been subjugated, education has been used as a tool to oppress. Indigenous peoples, often lack trust for the mainstream educational process. During the colonization of the Americas, Indigenous Peoples were bullied, manipulated, victimized, and demonized to justify the taking of land and resources.

In the Declaration of Independence, it states, “Raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands”. That is the greed. It is backed by a power which is shown through advanced means of warfare and financial power. Then there is the notion of entitlement that people who colonize for the greed of resources, land and more power feel entitled. Through this process, the victim is dehumanized. Indigenous people are depicted in this way in the Declaration of Independence: 

“To bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions. When you dehumanize any human being (savage) it is much easier to blame the victim. This and similar concepts play out repeatedly throughout history and lead to social inequities. There is an underlying greed in capitalistic societies. People with power and/or upward mobility will use that power to control those without power and use them for the advancement of their own wealth and they often do not acknowledge the oppressive actions they are inflicting on others as it is all about their own gain and they feel truly entitled to it via their personal propaganda, beliefs, and often backing by others with the same ideologies. In today’s societies, it manifests itself in the poverty of our nations…”

According to the Rhode Island Department of Health, “The percentage of Native Americans living in poverty is three times that of whites and the state as a whole. The following are socioeconomic characteristics of Rhode Island’s Native American population. These characteristics are a few of the social determinants that can have a profound effect on an individual’s health.”
The percentage of Native Americans living in poverty is three times that of whites and the state as a whole. (NA-42.2%, White-11.3% and statewide-14.4%)
Native Americans have a higher percentage of unemployment than whites and state as a whole.(NA-26.0%, White-8.6% and statewide-9.7%)
The median household income for Native Americans is $21,476, roughly $34,000 less than the state median household income and $39,000 less than the white median household income. (NA-$21,476, White-$60,140 and statewide-$55,675)
Only 18.6% of Native Americans own their housing unit, compared to 64.7% of the white population. (NA-18.6%, White-64.7% and statewide-60.2%)

For additional information on statistics please visit: 
http://www.health.ri.gov/publications/factsheets/minorityhealthfacts/NativeAmericans.pdf

According to RI Kids Count , “Children who live in poverty, especially those who experience poverty in early childhood and for extended periods of time, are more likely to have health, behavioral, educational and social problems.” 

Hispanic, Native American and Black children are less likely to be proficient in reading and mathematics in fourth grade than White or Asian children. 
Native American, Hispanic, and Black adults living in Rhode Island are less likely to have a bachelor’s degree than White or Asian adults. 
Nationally, Black, Hispanic, and Native American students are more likely than White and Asian students to be disciplined in school. Schools’ disproportionate use of disciplinary techniques that remove children from the classroom, such as out-of-school suspension or expulsion, may contribute to racial and ethnic gaps in school achievement and drop-out rates.
Rhode Island has one of the highest rates in the U.S. for disciplinary out-of-school suspensions among Black students with disabilities. 
In Rhode Island during the 2012-2013 school year, minority students received 52% of all disciplinary actions, although they made up only 38% of the student population.
During the 2012-2013 school year, Rhode Island’s Hispanic and Black children were more than 14 times as likely as White children to attend schools identified for intervention.

For additional information on statistics please visit: http://www.rikidscount.org/Portals/0/Uploads/Documents/Ind6.pdf

IEN is currently in the planning stage. The goal of Tomaquag’s IEN is to bring equity to the Indigenous community of Rhode Island through the eradication of poverty by creating a new education and job training model. As we get to the implementation phase, IEN’s unique strategy for eliminating poverty will be through education and community economic development.

With TM as the hub tribal members will lead the project by empowering their cultural & ecological knowledge & weave that into the framework of contemporary careers that museums house including: Marketing (film, podcasting, web design, audio production, blogging & print media); Museum Studies (history, research, anthropology, & sociology); Agriculture (herb lore, gardening, botany, biology); Business/Finance (small business development; retail management; accounting; strategic & business planning, fundraising); Education (museum educator, performer, storytelling, curriculum development, program coordination,  teacher conferences &  tour development); Archival (library sciences, digitization, document management, & research); Collections Management (conservation, preservation, exhibit design & fabrication) and Administration (leadership training, transition & strategic planning).

IEN is working diligently to develop a protocol to create various levels of learning that will lead to careers, starting with internships utilizing these various areas of the museum to expose Indigenous youth and adults to the various opportunities a museum has to offer. We are formalizing the internship process and will have candidates apply for these paid opportunities to learn and experience various types of career opportunities. The next layer will include fellowships in focused areas of career development. It will include a set training program that will include certifications in the area of study which will be developed in partnership with colleges & universities. The last piece is the bridge to higher education.

While employed, after gaining experience, confidence and a passion for a certain area of study, through our higher education partnerships TM is looking to create a Museum Studies degree program and adding on additional degree programs as future steps in the project.  Candidates may take course work online and/or onsite with cohorts lead by certified higher Ed professors many of which will come directly from TM Board of Directors. The degree will be conferred by one of our various partner institutions. Our goals is to help participants overcome their fears of education, understand historical trauma & its impact, build skills, connect to interests & passions, and layer education in ways that empower tribal members and lead to fulfilling careers that impact the individual, their family, and the whole community in a positive, productive and culturally respectful way. Everything we do today must positively affect the next 7 generations to come.

For more information on historical trauma and its effects please visit: 

Indian Country Diaries: Historic Trauma May Be Causing Today’s Health Crisis
http://www.pbs.org/indiancountry/challenges/trauma.html

Historical Trauma in Native Americans: Discovering Our Stories
http://discoveringourstory.wisdomoftheelders.org/resources/transcending-historical-trauma

Trauma May Be Woven into DNA of Native Americans
http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/05/28/trauma-may-be-woven-dna-native-americans-160508

For many years TM has nurtured relationships with diverse individuals and groups from in and outside of the museum field. TM has been successfully building unique cross-sector partnerships with individuals and organizations. This year, we have hosted three convening and many meetings with partner organizations. We have 36 partners that are listed below.

Partnership_Map.jpg


TM is also very excited to announce we received support from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Business Development Grant for $99,000. It includes jobs for a museum archivist, 2 part-time year-long native interns, 1 part-time year-long native apprentice and four 16 week part-time native interns as well as hires a native Elder consultant who specialized in museum intern programs. Eight months into our new initiative and several new jobs have been created. 

 

 

 

TM would like to take this opportunity to thank Third Sector New England, USDA, all of our partners, the Narragansett Tribal community, our board, volunteers, and staff. None of this would be possible without your help!

(L-R) Kim Peters, Tomaquag Collections Manager & Samantha Cullen-Fry IEN Coordinator

(L-R) Kim Peters, Tomaquag Collections Manager & Samantha Cullen-Fry IEN Coordinator

HOW YOU CAN HELP?
Join the Indigenous Empowerment Network
Share your expertise, become a mentor, hire an intern
Share your network, make connections and make introductions
Share your work that already supports social and financial change
Share resources, job posting, educational, job training and other opportunities
Share your ideas to make IEN stronger which in turn makes Rhode Island stronger

If your organization is interested in becoming a partner please contact
Lorén Spears or Samantha Cullen-Fry at (401) 491-9063

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kutaputush (Thank You),
Kim Peters, Collections Manager
Lorén Spears, Executive Director
Samantha Cullen Fry, IEN Coordinator
You can visit us at www.tomaquagmuseum.org. Please like us on Facebook. 

The Tomaquag “Belonging(s)” Blog, is a monthly conversation dedicated to the happenings, musings of staff, and a peek at the collections of the Tomaquag Museum. We welcome guest bloggers, and topics relevant to Native American Museums and Indian Country, especially those located in the New England area.

Disclaimer: 
This site is for informational purposes only and does not represent the official views of the Tomaquag Museum. The Tomaquag Museum accepts no liability for the content, accuracy or spelling errors of this site. Any views expressed on this site are those of the individual post author only. That includes me because I am the administrator, guest bloggers, commentators, and family pets. Unless otherwise noted, Tomaquag Museum holds a copyright to the material on this site that includes images. If you see something that you would like please contact us.                               We might let you use it.

This site provides external links for informational purposes only. The appearance of external hyperlinks on this site  does not constitute endorsement by the Tomaquag Museum of the linked websites, or the information, products or services contained therein. The Tomaquag Museum does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations nor does it take responsibility for any loss or damage suffered as a result of using any information published on any of the pages linked to a third party website. This includes breaking out in hives.
The administrator, again that is me and our website guru who wishes to remain anonymous have the right to remove any comments deemed to be spam including those that comes in a can, profanity, language or concepts deemed offensive and those that attack a person individually. 

Tomaquag “Belonging(s)” Blog July 2016

Marketing Assistant

Belonging(s)
“A close relationship among a group and personal or public effects”

Hello  and “Kunoopeam” (Welcome)!
Summer is officially here which signals the start of the powwow season in southern New England. Below is the schedule for several powwows that you might want to check out. 


August 13-14 Narragansett Indian Tribe August Meeting Pow-wow, Narragansett Indian Church Grounds, Indian Church Rd, Charlestown, RI  Dean Stanton 401-364-1100 x203

August 20-21 Mohegan Wigwam Festival, Fort Shantok, Uncasville, CT  (No on-site parking. Shuttle service to field at Mohegan Sun bus lobby and from Thamesview Garage)  1-800-MOHEGAN

August 27-28 Mashantucket Green Corn Pow-wow, Mashantucket Reservation, 1 Matt’s Path, Mashantucket, CT 860-396-2136
September 2-5 Shinnecock Nation Pow-wow, Shinnecock Reservation, Southampton, NY   631-283-6143  nationspowwow@optonline.net

As for powwow etiquette, here are a few resources that will make your visit more enjoyable.
Native Peoples Magazine:


http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/03/29/pow-wow-etiquette-10-rules-follow-and-out-arena-154195?page=0%2C2

 This month's guest blogger Dera Silvestre. Dera is a rising sophomore at Boston University. She is studying communications with a focus in advertising. Dera began her internship at the Tomaquag Museum in the beginning of June after being referred by the Rhode Island General Assembly. During her time at the museum, Dera hopes to see first-hand the real challenges and successes that come with advertising. Dera says so far her favorite thing about Tomaquag is the weekly Children's Hour because she gets to learn, listen, and dance alongside the children. Dera will be contributing to the Belonging(s) Blog periodically over the summer.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by Guest Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Tomaquag Museum or any employee thereof. Tomaquag Museum is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by Guest Bloggers.

My first day as an intern at the Tomaquag Museum was spent sorting a seemingly endless heap of beads. I walked into the office that day expecting to do a bit of simple office work and was instead greeted by a massive mountain of sparkling, colorful craft ware. Silvermoon LaRose Tomaquag’s assistant director explained that their bead organization was severely lacking, and asked if I would help to sort them all out.

I wanted to help, but I felt overwhelmed for a moment as I stared at the all of the little jars and boxes. There were so many different kinds of beads, in every color imaginable, each with unique variations. How could we ever classify these in an orderly way? I didn’t know where to begin.
Luckily, Silvermoon understood my confusion and graciously gave me the beginner’s guide to beadwork. Delica, bugle, seed, flatback, and gemstone; though they may have looked similar, the characteristics of each kind of bead made a drastic difference in the outcome of the craft they were being used in. Silvermoon showed me how a delica bead laid differently that a seed bead when used in earrings, and how beads used in chokers varied from those used in bracelets. 

As we sorted, we found some finished crafts that had been mixed in with the beads. I had thought that sorting beads were tough, but the intricacy of some of the earrings that we found proved to me that crafting with beads was even more of a challenge. I was amazed by the meticulous precision that went into each and every line of beads. The colorful compositions displayed elaborate artistry. 

Intricate Beadwork takes skill and understanding of bead types and color choices

Intricate Beadwork takes skill and understanding of bead types and color choices

Though my eyes were beginning to cross by the time we finished, I enjoyed organizing the beads. This task, though troublesome, gave me the chance to appreciate a piece of Narragansett tribal culture. When I began sorting, I saw the beads as simply that – plain ol’ beads. By the end of our sorting, I had realized that each bead was an opportunity for creative expression. 

Beadwork is more than beauty; beads offer an interpretation of cultural and historical values. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you Dera for your honest and insightful words. We all look forward to hearing more about your adventures at Tomaquag over the summer! 

To our readers, have a great summer. I smell frybread gotta go!

Kutaputush (Thank You),
Kim Peters, Collections Manager
You can visit us at www.tomaquagmuseum.org. Please like us on Facebook. 

The Tomaquag “Belonging(s)” Blog, is a monthly conversation dedicated to the happenings, musings of staff, and a peek at the collections of the Tomaquag Museum. We welcome guest bloggers, and topics relevant to Native American Museums and Indian Country, especially those located in the New England area.

Big things happening for a little museum with a big mission!

Marketing Assistant

Tomaquag “Belonging(s)” Blog
May 2016
Belonging(s)
“A close relationship among a group and personal or public effects”

 

Hello  and “Kunoopeam” (Welcome)!

It has been very, I mean very busy at Tomaquag. So busy in fact that we did not publish a blog post last month. Please accept our apology with the caveat that it will probably happen again.  Big things are happening for us, and although everything is a priority, sometimes we have to choose one task over the other. On a personal note, this is the second small museum I have worked for, the first being in a volunteer position. It takes energy, passion, and a team mentality to get things done. At times closely resembling a family structure. I have a lot of admiration for our nation's small gems. Please find a way to support them! Whether it is through volunteering or financial support. They hold some of this country's most important historical and cultural assets that we cannot afford to lose. So are you ready to see what we have been doing? Let's go!

 

On April 19 the Tomaquag Museum became a recipient of the 2016 National Medal for Museums and Library Services. This is the nation's highest honor given to ten museums or libraries for service to their communities. We also received support from the Rhode Island Foundation’s Centennial Community Grants program part of a series of activities to mark the Foundation’s 100th anniversary this year.  Funding will allow us to create a weekly Children’s Hour that will teach the history and culture of the Narragansett Tribal Nation through music, dance and storytelling. 

Our team and partners continue to work diligently on our project funded by Third Sector New England (TSNE) and its Inclusion Initiative grant making program. TSNE’s Inclusion Initiative Planning Project will forge a network to help eradicate poverty within the Native Community through Tomaquag Museum’s Indigenous Empowerment Initiative (IEI). Meet our new team member who plays an instrumental role in the project below. 

For more Tomaquag Museum News go to http://www.tomaquagmuseum.org/news/.
 

Slivermoon Larose, Assistant Director, Tomaquag Museum

Slivermoon Larose, Assistant Director, Tomaquag Museum

Please help me welcome our newest team members:
Silvermoon Mars LaRose is a member of the Narragansett Indian Tribe and is our Assistant Director. Before this, she was the DVPI (Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative) Assistant at the Narragansett Indian Health Center, Direct Care Worker at the Frank Olean Center, and Program Manager for a Vocational Rehabilitation Program.  Silvermoon has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Rhode Island and 30 credits towards a Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling from Western Washington University.  She is a traditional art hobbyist, writer, storyteller, and mother. Silvermoon is responsible for creating systems that promote improved efficiency throughout the museum as well as new fund development. She manages our museum store, supports tours, leads our annual campaign and coordinates new programming. 

Samantha Cullen Fry, Communications & Documentation Coordinator

Samantha Cullen Fry, Communications & Documentation Coordinator

Samantha Cullen-Fry is a member of the Narragansett Indian Tribe and is the new Communications & Documentation Coordinator here at Tomaquag Museum.  Before this she spent many years in sales management until she had the amazing opportunity, for two and a half years, to be a stay at home mama for her two beautiful daughters.  Now ready to get back into the workforce she has decided to come to Tomaquag to be our  new coordinator for the Indigenous Empowerment Network.  Her role is to help facilitate relationships, through museum partnerships, that will create a catalyst for economic change within the Native Community.

 

As far as collections, we just finished work on two grants that helped the museum bring in two consultants. Ani Rivera, President of Archival Matters, Inc created 37  specialty storage boxes for oversized belonging(s) in the collection. He also built a work and storage table that freed up space in collections storage. We are grateful to the Champlin Foundation for funding this project. Alexandra Allardt, Principal of ArtCare Resources, conducted a much needed Preservation Assessment that resulted in a 5-year Preservation Plan. We are grateful to the Nation Endowment for Humanities Preservation Assessment Program (NEH PAG) for funding this project.
 

Stewardship of collections is one of the most important responsibilities that a museum has and in many cases it is its most important function. Everything we do from education and fundraising to security is or should be tied directly to the collection. 
According to the American Alliance of Museums (AAM): “Stewardship is the careful, sound and responsible management of that which is entrusted to a museum’s care. Possession of collections incurs legal, social and ethical obligations to provide proper physical storage, management and care for the collections and associated documentation, as well as proper intellectual control. Collections are held in trust for the public and made accessible for the public’s benefit. Effective collections stewardship ensures that the objects the museum own, borrows, holds in its custody and/or uses are available and accessible to present and future generations. A museum’s collections are an important means of advancing its mission and serving the public.”
One of the responsibilities of the Tomaquag Museums Collection Manager is to protect the collections from the 10 agents of deterioration. They include:
Physical Force
Thieves and Vandals
Fire
Water
Pests
Pollutants
Light, Ultraviolet, and Infrared
Incorrect Temperature
Incorrect Humidity
Dissociation

Based on the recommendation made in the Preservation Plan, we are working on obtaining funding for a project that will strengthen and sustain our Collections Care and Risk Mitigation program to address issues associated with the 10 agents of deterioration.
Ongoing work in the Collections Management Department includes rehousing and accessioning belonging(s) into the collections and data entry in our PastPerfect Collections Database. We are also in the final stages of completing our Collections Management Policy Manual and Disaster Preparedness Plan. We are hoping for Board approval by the end of June.  

In closing, sometimes materials meant for archives find their way to me in Collections Storage. Personally, I think they just like being around me even though they know they don’t belong in my area. Every once in a while, they demand my attention like cats who walk across your computer keys or knock stuff off shelves. So I decided to give it some attention.
I have three of the seventeen issues of The Narragansett Dawn bothering me. In all seriousness, although they are archival I still have the responsibility of protecting them until we obtain funds for an archivist. The Narragansett Dawn was a monthly newspaper published from 1935-1936. It was founded by Princess Redwing and Ernest Hazard, both  members of the Narragansett Tribe. The newspaper “Published Monthly in the interest of The Narragansett Tribe"  focused on the language, culture, religion, politics, and daily life of members of the Narragansett Tribe. In many instances, tribal members contributed material to the newspaper.  The following was sent in by Ella W. Wilcox. It is  a recipe for a Turtle Dinner written by Tahoma.                              For your enjoyment:
 

TURTLE DINNER
One good-sized turtle, cut out of the shell, soak in salt and water overnight. Parboil in salt and water until tender. Dredge in salt, pepper and Paprika. Dip in beaten eggs then cracker crumbs. Fry in deep fat until brown. Serve on a hot platter with gravy. Make gravy with melted butter, flour, lemon juice, kitchen bouquet, and water. Serve with—-Baked potatoes, buttered onions(boiled), string beans and horseradish.
The turtle can be removed from the shell without harming the shell which can be used for dishes. This requires an experienced person. The claws are used to decorate clothes and the broth makes good soup.

Kutaputush (Thank You), 
Kim Peters, Collections Manager
You can visit us at www.tomaquagmuseum.org. Please like us on Facebook

The Tomaquag “Belonging(s)” Blog, is a monthly conversation dedicated to the happenings, musings of staff, and a peek at the collections of the Tomaquag Museum. We welcome guest bloggers, and topics relevant to Native American Museums and Indian Country, especially those located in the New England area.

American Alliance of Museums: “Collections Stewardship: Standards Regarding Collections Stewardship”.  http://www.aam-us.org/resources/ethics-standards-and-best-practices/collections-stewardship

Tahoma. Turtle Dinner. Narragansett Dawn,  August 1935. Vol 1 No. 4. Oakland, RI. p 94.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PART 3: Diabetes in Public Health

Marketing Assistant

Tomaquag “Belonging(s)” Blog

March 2016 Part III

Belonging(s)

“A close relationship among a group and personal or public effects”

“Kunoopeam” (Welcome)!

This Belonging(s) Blog is a continuation of a three-part series by Brown University student Esmeralda Lopez. (Please see Tomaquag Museum Disclaimer below) Ms. Lopez’s blog is the result of an assignment from her class “Treaty Rights and Food Fights: Eating Local in Indian Country”. The course, taught by Elizabeth M. Hoover, PhD., Assistant Professor of American and Ethnic Studies explores the disparate health conditions faced by Native communities and the efforts by many groups to address these health problems through increasing community access to traditional food, whether by gardening projects or a revival of hunting and fishing traditions…” 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by Guest Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Tomaquag Museum or any employee thereof. Tomaquag Museum is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by Guest Bloggers.

As a recap, Part I titled Food as Medicineexplores an alternate Nutrition Model based on a combination of traditionaland contemporary foods. In Part II, Badly Made Indicator (BMI) of Health, Ms. Lopez discusses issues related to the Body Mass Index model or BMI. In our final guest blog, Part III, she presents the subject of Type II diabetes. 

Part III No ‘thrifty’ explanations

This is a continuation of the broader discussion on the framing of disease introduced in “Badly Made Indicator (BMI) of Health”.  The purpose of this blog is to talk a bit about how Type II Diabetes has been framed in public health with health transitions (explained below), and in biology with the “thrifty genotype hypothesis”. But more importantly focusing on 53 ethnographic interviews with tribal members (who participated extensively in studies of diabetes) on how they reinterpret genetic researchers’ narratives about them, to create their own accounts of their history and future (Sahota 824).

Frames of Type II Diabetes in Public Health & the “thrifty genotype hypothesis”

Globally we can observe the substantial changes in food systems and food intakes. For instance, the globalization of corn (originated in what is present day Mexico) and its production through GMO mono-cropping The difference in composition between the traditional corn and the genetically modified variety is the latter is high in carbohydrates and low in protein thus producing a sweeter-tasting corn. This modification of corn parallels the shift from traditional diets high in protein to contemporary diets high in carbohydrates. Diets high in carbohydrates contribute to excess calorie intake which is stored as fat in the body. The observed shift in dietary intake is what the field of public health calls— nutrition transition.  The effect of this contributes to the health transition; two other transitions that occur simultaneously are demographic and epidemiological. 

  • Demographic transition is the shift from a pattern of high fertility and high mortality to one of low fertility and low mortality. 
  • Epidemiological transition is the shift from a pattern of prevalent infectious diseases associated with malnutrition, periodic famine, and poor environmental sanitation to a pattern of prevalent chronic and degenerative diseases (ex. diabetes, heart disease, cancers) associated with urban-industrial lifestyles. 

The field of public health uses the 3 transitions to explain the high rates/prevalence of Type II Diabetes cases. Though most agree with this explanation, there is a group of geneticists, who favor the “thrifty genotype hypothesis”. 

As the name suggests the “thrifty genotype hypothesis” seeks to explain the higher prevalence of Type II Diabetes in Native Americans is due to genetic adaptations from the traditional hunter-gather communities. In which communities had genetically adapted to resource-scarce environments. Originally a “helpful” adaptation is now “harmful” in modern abundant environments leading to the development of the disease.

 

How do tribal members interview reinterpret these narratives about them to create their own accounts of their history and future?

 

Puneet Chawla Sahota conducted 53 ethnographic interviews in an unnamed tribal community as part of the study, published as Genetic histories: Native Americans’ accounts of being at risk for diabetes. Tribal members were asked this broad question— what they believed/thought caused diabetes? In their responses 25% of the interviewees brought up the “thrifty genotype hypothesis” on their own. Some of the interviewees interpreted the “thrifty genotype hypothesis” to mean that Native Americans are vulnerable in the face of rapid historical change, while others viewed it as evidence of Native American resilience (833). How tribal members interpret the hypothesis matters because it shapes how they negotiate their susceptibility of developing diabetes (835).

Another key part in tribal members’ responses to the question was the loss of ‘traditional’ foods and lifestyles (831), there are efforts to revitalized lost traditions. As tribal members seek to revitalize traditions which is linked to their quest to defeat the diabetes epidemic and to maintain a distinct tribal identity (831). 

To quote Winona LaDuke an indigenous (Anishinaabeg) scholar who writes, “the genetic complexity of Native communities has been the subject of many tests and studies, but Native communities have been clear to that a holistic approach to restoring Native health is essential to treatment of diabetes” (LaDuke198). With that said, it is necessary to collect different perspectives like those of tribal members for a holistic approach to restoring Native health.

STAGES OF HEALTH

STAGES OF HEALTH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

Sahota C. Puneet., 2012. Genetic histories: Native Americans' accounts of being at risk for diabetes. Social Studies of Science. 42(6), 821-842. 

Laduke, Winona. 2005. “Food as Medicine: The Recovery of Traditional Foods to Heal the People.” IN Recovering the Sacred: The Power of Naming and Claiming. Cambridge MA: South End Press. P 191-212. 

Kutaputush (Thank You) we hope you enjoyed this guest blog!

Kim Peters, Collections Manager

The Tomaquag “Belonging(s)” Blog, is a monthly conversation dedicated to the happenings, musings of staff, and a peek at the collections of the Tomaquag Museum. We welcome guest bloggers, and topics relevant to Native American Museums and Indian Country, especially those located in the New England area.

If you are interested in contributing to our blog please contact kpeters@tomaquagmuseum.org  

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by Guest Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Tomaquag Museum or any employee thereof. Tomaquag Museum is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by Guest Bloggers.

 


HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT OUR PODCAST?

Part 2: The Clinical Framing of Obesity

Marketing Assistant

 

Tomaquag “Belonging(s)” Blog
March 2016 Part II
Belonging(s)  “A close relationship among a group and personal or public effects”


“Kunoopeam” (Welcome)!
This Belonging(s) Blog is a continuation of a three-part series by student Esmeralda Lopez. Ms. Lopez’s blog is the result of an assignment from her class “Treaty Rights and Food Fights: Eating Local in Indian Country”. The course, taught by Elizabeth M. Hoover, PhD., Assistant Professor of American and Ethnic Studies explores the disparate health conditions faced by Native communities and the efforts by many groups to address these health problems through increasing community access to traditional food, whether by gardening projects or a revival of hunting and fishing traditions…” 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by Guest Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Tomaquag Museum or any employee thereof. Tomaquag Museum is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by Guest Bloggers.

As a recap, Part I titled Food as Medicine  explores an alternate Nutrition Model based on a combination of traditional  and contemporary foods. In part II, Ms. Lopez discusses an issue related to the Body Mass Index model or BMI.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part II Badly Made Indicator (BMI) of Health
The clinical framing of obesity

One of the objectives of the blog post Food as Medicine was to introduce a Native nutrition model that was developed “to teach nutrition while preserving cultural knowledge and traditional food systems” (Conti 235).  

Our ancestors didn’t have nutritional guidelines/models/pyramids, so why is there a need for them now? Is it because of the global “obesity epidemic”? If so, what’s responsible for the increasing incidence of obesity? 

Before we can examine public health research and literature on nutrition transition that seeks to provide an explanation, we must know how obesity is framed. Charles E. Rosenberg historian of medicine and Professor of History of Science and Medicine at Harvard said, "In some ways disease does not exist until we have agreed that it does, by perceiving, naming, and responding to it" (xiiv). A disease first has to be framed before it is diagnosable. In other words, a disease isn’t a black and white biological event but an agreed upon biological and social phenomenon. To truly understand the framing of obesity we need to know how it is constructed in biology and society. 


The body mass index (BMI) is used globally by healthcare providers for identifying patients as either ‘normal’, ’overweight’ or ’obese’. The BMI is widely used in both clinical practice and research studies. One might think that because research studies use BMI, the clinical tool must be accurate. Sadly, this “sophisticated” tool only needs height and weight measurements to calculate BMI! This reductionist approach does not take into account varying body composition. In The Daily Mail (an online news publication in the UK) published an article this July about the impracticality of using the BMI. 

 In 2013, BBC News published the article “British Asians set lower BMI target”, the purpose of the article was to discuss why Asians and other minority groups should aim for a lower BMI of 23 rather than 25. The Diabetes UK organization says it's a step away from the BMI's “one size fits all” approach. In acknowledging that the BMI does not work for “all”, the article is implicitly saying that the tool was designed for the white body.  For example, the article says, "People from black and other minority groups would most likely also benefit from having a BMI less than 23, but should aim for a BMI at least lower than 25". This recommendation to minority ethnic groups is based on solely on the greater number of minorities with chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Whether they intended to or not, they reduced the causation of complex chronic diseases to simply the result of excess body fat, thereby stigmatizing and racializing the obesity problem.

 Thinking critically on the information being presented, it is evident that the BMI was not created for “the Asian body” and “other bodies of color”. I used the term “Asian body” in quotes because there isn’t a “quintessential Asian body” as the article implies. People can argue that the BMI doesn’t accurately measure white bodies either. While this is true, it does not deny the fact that the BMI was designed (with sample population measurements) for white bodies, who are not asked in the article to aim for a lower BMI or linked to the comorbidity of excess body fat and chronic diseases (type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers).

The continued use of BMI in clinical practice and health research is both impractical and detrimental to communities of color. Its widespread use “legitimizes” it as an accurate assessment of health such that, many of us (myself included) have used it to assess our health. Just to clarify, I’m not advocating for the creation of BMIs tailored for communities of color. Rather I’m advocating for a shift away from “one-size fits all” diagnostic tools of health to a more comprehensive assessment of health. Before this can happen everyone (not just communities of color) must question both the ethics and accuracy of  “one-size fits all” diagnostic tools of health. 

A few ways we can assess our health is through fitness exercises, a great resource is an article by the Mayo Clinic. There are three key areas of fitness: aerobic fitness, muscular strength, and endurance, flexibility. Material you will need for the fitness exercises are a watch/stopwatch, a cloth measuring tape, a yardstick, heavy duty tape, scale and a someone to help record your scores. I have included a summary table of the fitness exercises and provided hyperlinks to other useful tools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:
Conti, K. 2006. "Diabetes Prevention in Indian Country: Developing Nutrition Models to Tell the Story of the Food-System Change." Journal of Transcultural Nursing. 17(3):234-245

Charles Rosenberg, “Framing disease,” Framing Disease: Studies in Cultural History. New Brunswick:  Rutgers University Press, 1992. 

 

Kutaputush (Thank You) and may the fresh air and sunshine invigorate you!

Kim Peters, Collections Manager

The Tomaquag “Belonging(s)” Blog, is a monthly conversation dedicated to the happenings, musings of staff, and a peek at the collections of the Tomaquag Museum. We welcome guest bloggers, and topics relevant to Native American Museums and Indian Country, especially those located in the New England area.
If you are interested in contributing to our blog please contact kpeters@tomaquagmuseum.org  Please visit us at www.tomaquagmuseum.org. and like us on Facebook.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by Guest Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Tomaquag Museum or any employee thereof. Tomaquag Museum is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by Guest Bloggers.


HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT OUR PODCAST?

 

 

 

PART I: Food as Medicine

Marketing Assistant

Tomaquag "Belonging(s)" Blog
March 2016
Belonging(s) defined as "A close relationship among a group and personal or public effects"

"Kunoopeam" (Welcome)!
I am so excited that Spring is right around the corner. I have begun the process of preparing my vegetable garden. Once the threat of frost has past, I am ready to get dirty! Tomaquag Museum is also preparing the Three Sister's Garden. Check our website or give us a call for volunteer opportunities. In the meantime, I thought I would share this 2014 tongue-in-cheek article written by Vincent Schilling and published by Indian Country Today titled "Things Native Americans Can Do to Prepare for Spring".  

As part of our on-going partnership with Brown University, we will be presenting a three-part blog by student Esmeralda Lopez. (Please see Tomaquag Museum Disclaimer below) Ms. Lopez's blog is the result of an assignment from her class "Treaty Rights and Food Fights: Eating Local in Indian Country". The course, taught by Elizabeth M. Hoover, PhD., Assistant Professor of American and Ethnic Studies explores the disparate health conditions faced by Native communities and the efforts by many groups to address these health problems through increasing community access to traditional food, whether by gardening projects or a revival of hunting and fishing traditions…"

For detailed course information please CLICK HERE
 

Guest Blogger Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by Guest Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Tomaquag Museum or any employee thereof. Tomaquag Museum is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by Guest Bloggers.

We will present each part of this series from Esmeralda's blog in weekly installments.  

 

PART I Food as Medicine
Fast food is used often to describe unhealthy yet convenient meals from businesses such as McDonald's, Wendy's, and KFC. If people are dogmatic about unhealthy food being a danger to our health, then why is it a far-fetched idea that good food can be medicinal? The US government created the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) to provide nutritional education of what a "healthy" and "balanced" diet is, the first of its kind was the Food Guide Pyramid. Since its inception, the Food Guide Pyramid has received numerous criticisms. One of the most well-known critics is Marion Nestle who wrote Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health in which she wrote that several representative of the dairy industry sat on the committee in-charge of developing 2000 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The DGA guidelines haven't made achieving a balanced diet any easier, as they have changed many times throughout its history.  For example, the DGA attempted to create a culturally relevant nutritional guideline for First Nation people but failed to do so. Their attempt simply added a few indigenous foods and kept the dairy group. First of all, making one guideline for all First Nation people is completely wrong. There are over 567 tribes (567 are federally recognized) in the US, each with their own language, culture, and diet! Additionally, keeping the dairy group is culturally irrelevant given that many First Nation people are lactose-intolerant. The simplification of food to its nutritional contents blatantly ignores the history of indigenous foods and the cultural, spiritual, and political importance of accessing traditional foods.

The repertoire of culturally and historically irrelevant nutrition education models led Kibbe Conti, a registered dietitian from the Lakota nation, to develop The Four Winds Nutrition Model. Conti collaborated with elder Bob Chasing Horse to develop the model specifically for indigenous Northern Plains communities. They deliberately chose to use the Sacred Medicine Wheel as the basis for the model because of its cultural significance and the traditional knowledge about balance.

The Four Winds model includes both traditional and contemporary foods. On the wheel, the West Wind represents water, the North Wind represents lean meat/protein, the East Wind represents fruit or vegetables, and the South Wind represents whole grains and/or starchy vegetables (Conti, 238). The Four Winds Nutrition Model emphasizes the importance of balancing the four winds in a meal—one group should not dominate the meal.

                                                                              The significance of using the Sacred Medicine Wheel is that it validates and incorporates traditional knowledge in addressing contemporary issues. The Four Winds Nutrition Model is one of a growing number of Native nutrition models that have risen in "an effort to teach nutrition while preserving the cultural knowledge of traditional food systems."

 

 

 

Furthermore, they inform youth, a generation that has witnessed only the result of the diet and lifestyle changes, the history of their diet transition (235). Native nutrition models are more than educational tools, they are tools of resistance— they are a much-needed medicine to addressing health issues in Indian Country.

A Narragansett nutrition model could include both traditional and local foods. An example of a traditional Narragansett food tradition is clambakes, where clams and lobsters are baked. Clams and lobsters are foods that could be included in the North Wind –lean meat/protein. Another Narragansett food tradition is Cranberry Thanksgiving that involves the harvesting of the berries from cranberry bogs. Cranberries can be grouped in the East Wind representing fruits and vegetables. Cranberries are deemed "super foods" because of their disease-fighting antioxidants, which prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). Lastly, the Narragansett nutrition model could include corn in the South Wind- representing whole grains/starchy vegetables specifically the Narragansett white cap corn (Zanger 13) used to make johnnycakes.

References: 
Conti, K. 2006. "Diabetes Prevention in Indian Country: Developing Nutrition Models to Tell
the Story of the Food-System Change." Journal of Transcultural Nursing. 17(3):234-245

Zanger, M. 2001. The American Ethnic Cookbook for Students. ABC-CLIO, 13.
"


Kutaputush (Thank You) and may the fresh air and sunshine invigorate you!

Kim Peters, Collections Manager

The Tomaquag "Belonging(s)" Blog, is a monthly conversation dedicated to the happenings, musings of staff, and a peek at the collections of the Tomaquag Museum. We welcome guest bloggers, and topics relevant to Native American Museums and Indian Country, especially those located in the New England area.

If you are interested in contributing to our blog please contact kpeters@tomaquagmuseum.org  

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by Guest Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Tomaquag Museum or any employee thereof. Tomaquag Museum is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by Guest Bloggers.

A close relationship among a group and personal or public effects

Marketing Assistant

Tomaquag "Belonging(s)" Blog
February 2016
Belonging(s)
"A close relationship among a group and personal or public effects"

"Kunoopeam" (Welcome)!
After last months spring-like weather, winter has finally made an appearance. However, like the mailman, the staff and board of Tomaquag refuses to let a little snow keep us from our work on "the little gem that could".
This month's blog takes a look at the work being done on the Strong Horse Collection from a collections management perspective. But first let me share a bit of background information on the donor and the collection.
A member of the Narragansett Tribe, Kenneth "Strong Horse" Smith was born February 13, 1921 in Orange, CT. As a child Strong Horse contracted Polio and did not learn to walk until he was four years old. According to relatives, he "scooted" around in his wagon which made his legs stronger. At the age of nine he was give his Native American name "Strong Horse" because of his personality and character. After high school he joined the military and fought in World War II. In 1946 Strong Horse was elected sub-chief to the Narragansett Tribe remaining active in tribal politics until 2003. More importantly, throughout his life Chief Strong Horse was and continues to be considered one of the most revered keepers of the Narragansett Tribe's cultural traditions such as ceremonial practices, music and dance. He also collected materials that document the history of the Narragansett Tribe and people. The collection includes materials passed down to him by his grandfather. 
In 2006, Chief Strong Horse and his family donated the collection to the Tomaquag Museum. The collection consists of objects, photos, archival and library materials. It is unknown at this time the total quantity of materials in this massive collection, however since 2006 hundreds of archival materials have been documented and organized with the help of volunteers, board members and tribal elders. Because Tomaquag is such a small organization with limited finances and manpower, cataloging the collection has been tackled by asking ourselves questions such as:
•    Does the collection meet the museum's mission?
•    Do we have the ability to care for the collection using the appropriate museum standards now and in the future?
•    What is its value in terms of its importance to the Narragansett community, other Native American groups and the public?
The museum is currently located in a very old house. Therefore if you haven't guessed already, we have to work very hard to protect the collections from environmental hazards along with having a very small storage space. With all of these dilemmas, it was decided that the best way to protect the collection was to rehouse as much of it as possible starting with the Strong Horse Collection.
Over the past several years consultant Ani Rivera, owner of Archival Matters, Inc. along with staff, interns, and volunteers of Tomaquag have worked on cataloging, photographing and rehousing the objects or "belonging(s)" in the collection.  Many of them in need of custom made storage boxes. We would not have been able to undertake this project without the help provided by the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Business Development, Kimball Foundation and Champlin Foundations. We are very grateful for their support which has helped us not only care for the collections but increase our staff. Along with this internal rehousing project, the museum is looking for a new home. We are vetting out several possibilities for a new home including the idea of building a new home. See our Master Plan http://www.tomaquagmuseum.org/future-home-master-plan/ funded by the Lattner Foundation.
As of this writing Chief Strong Horse is ninety-five years old and although he is unable to move about as he once did, he remains one of the most respected Elders of the Narragansett Tribe. Soon, a film about the history of Tomaquag Museum will be completed. It includes interviews with Chief Strong Horse regarding his involvement with Tomaquag Museum over its 58 year history.
Kutaputush (Thank You) and Stay Warm!
Kim Peters, Collections Manager

The Tomaquag "Belonging(s)" Blog, is a monthly conversation dedicated to the happenings, musings of staff, and a peek at the collections of the Tomaquag Museum. We welcome guest bloggers, and topics relevant to Native American Museums, especially those located in the New England area.
If you are interested in contributing to our blog please contact kpeters@tomaquagmuseum.org  Please visit us at www.tomaquagmuseum.org. and like us on Facebook.

Welcome to the Belongings Blog!

Marketing Assistant

   L-R Mike Johnson, Lorén Spears, Kim Peters

   L-R Mike Johnson, Lorén Spears, Kim Peters

Tomaquag “Belonging(s)” Blog
January 2016

 

Belonging(s)
“A close relationship among a group and personal or public effects”


Happy New Year and “Kunoopeam” (Welcome)!
The Tomaquag “Belonging(s)” Blog, is a monthly conversation dedicated to the happenings, musings of staff, and a peek at the collections of the Tomaquag Museum. As the Tomaquag or the “T” as I affectionately like to call it continues to grow and evolve, we hope to include images, guest bloggers, and topics relevant to Native American Museums, especially those located in the New England area.
Here’s a few tidbits about the museum. Located in Exeter, RI, the mission of Tomaquag is to educate the public and promote thoughtful dialogue regarding Indigenous history, culture, arts and Mother Earth and connect to Native issues of today. The museum was co-founded by anthropologist Eva Butler and Princess Redwing (more about these fascinating women and others in the future). Tomaquag has been in existence for over 50 years and is the only museum in the state dedicated to the history of Rhode Island’s Native American peoples.
The current staff consists of three dedicated or from my most recent observation, the most optimistic, forward-looking and thinking folks of this “little gem that could”.
Our fearless leader of the Tomaquag Museum is Lorén Spears, a member of the Narragansett tribe. She is an accomplished educator, artist and writer. She is also the former director and founder of the Nuweetooun School. Previously located next door to the museum, this private, state-certified school was dedicated to educating K-8 Native children. Lorén spends her days taking care of the day-to-day operations of the museum, providing in-house and traveling educational programming, and searching for vital funding opportunities. She is the “chief, cook and bottle washer” and is known for explaining things to her staff through storytelling, with a “get err dun” attitude. If you wish to find out more about Lorén she has her own Wikipedia page.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loren_Spears

Michael E. Johnson is a member of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and is the Tomaquag Museum’s marketing and IT Guru. He is also the Heavy Lifter and Reacher of things on high shelves. Mike is the former Director of his tribes Creative Arts Department which specialized in graphic design and video post-production. He is the owner of Single Feather Media, a digital communications company. He also hosts the “Indigenous Peoples Music” podcast and the “Native Opinion” podcast. More recently Mike envisioned and created “Indigenous Artways!” as part of our initiative to use digital and social media as a tool to reach a broader audience. This video podcast learning series, led by Lorén, focuses on Native American art, its history and meaning. Mike had a quirky sense of humor and is an “Apple” guy who is not afraid to let anyone know it.
http://www.tomaquagmuseum.org/podcasts/

Me? You met me a few weeks ago. As a brief re-introduction I am Kimberly Peters, Tomaquag Collections Manager with a bit of Registrar, Curator, Archivist and Librarian thrown in for good measure. I am a member of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the former Executive Director of the Pequot Museum. A few of you will remember me as Kimberly Hatcher-White. I also spent many years behind the scenes working with the museum’s collection. Although I enjoyed my time overseeing the museum, my heart always remained with caring for these precious belongings. After taking some time off, I decided I wanted to get back to doing work that I enjoyed and found fulfilling. I enjoy caring for museum collections in general however, I am interested in collections of Eastern Woodland tribes, especially those in Southern New England. I have a particular fascination with these objects because of their ability to speak and tell their own stories. It’s just a matter of listening closely. I am also the writer/manager of this blog, which is my first attempt at blogging. So I pretty much am hoping I don’t mess things up or bore you to death. Look for upcoming “Belonging(s)” blogs, which will include more about Tomaquag and various topics such as grant work, a peek at some special collections and my work with our collections database PastPerfect or “PastPerfect Is Working On My Last Nerve”! LOL!
Kutaputush (Thank You)

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