2018 Honorees

Please join us in congratulating our 2018 Honorees! 

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Lou DiPalma, RI State Senate

Ellison"Tarzan"Brown Champion Award

Lou DiPalma is currently serving his 5th term, 10th year, in the Rhode Island Senate, representing District 12. He serves as the 1st Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance and a member of the Senate Committee on Education.  Additionally, Lou is the Senate Finance Sub-Committee Chair with responsibilities for Health and Human Services, Transportation and General Government. 

Lou DiPalma was chosen for the champion award for his constance advocacy of the Tomaquag Museum, increasing visibility through roadway signage, liaising connections for capacity building opportunities, and supporting our new facilities initiative to help us grow!

Lou will be celebrating his 35th wedding anniversary in December to Margaret. Together they have 2 daughters, Kellie Simeone, who is married to Alexander Simeone and Abigail Isom, who is married to Wesley Isom. They are the very proud grandparents of 3 grandsons, Graham, Peter and Tucker.


Kenny Merrick Jr., Posthumous Dakota, Mandan, & Arikara

Red Wing Arts & Culture Award

Born and raised in North Dakota, Kenny Merrick Jr.’s journey brought him East in September of 1989 when he began work as a singing director and performer for the renowned American Indian Dance Theatre based out of New York City; providing musical performances and education  internationally. In 1997 he moved his family to Connecticut to work for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe as a singing instructor. For the next 16 years, he shared his vast knowledge of singing and dancing, formed the Grammy nominated drum group Mystic River Singers along with his brothers, and traveled throughout Indian Country to many powwows sharing his songs, singing and teaching who ever wanted to learn. He loved to make people dance! Seeing a need for youth programming, Kenny and his brother Tyson also formed the Spirit Lake Warrior Basketball program with his nephews. The program took off  and even brought home a gold medal from the State Games in California. 

Kenny’s passion was singing and teaching children to sing. He worked with youth of all ages, creating and sharing songs that have blessed an entire community. Along with wife Faithe and their ever growing family, Kenny Merrick Jr. always served the Indigenous community, in any way, with passion, love and determination, and for that we are proud to honor his memory as a culture bearer.  


Eleanor Dove, Narragansett

Life Time Achievement Award  

Eleanor 'Pretty Flower' Spears Dove started her career as a caterer serving the state's dignitaries in Watch Hill and Charlestown, RI. Along with her husband, Ferris 'Chief Roaring Bull' Dove, they opened DoveCrest Indian Restaurant in Exeter, RI. Under her leadership, the restaurant gained international popularity for serving traditional Native cuisine, creating a unique tourism destination to experience Indigenous Rhode Island. As head chef, Eleanor received congressional recognition for her award winning recipes including the infamous 'Racoon Pie'.

Eleanor Dove used her entrepreneurial success to create and mentor opportunities for other Indigenous people, artists, and female entrepreneurs. She served on numerous philanthropic and community committees like March of Dimes, Business Professional Women, Tribal education and Narragansett Indian Church boards. She even provided a space for the Tomaquag Museum when it relocated to DoveCrest in 1969 where it has since made its home.  

Without the faithful support of Eleanor Dove, the Tomaquag Museum may not have reached its current level of establishment. For years, she maintained our non-profit status, managing the museum to keep our doors open and creating a path for future generations to carry on the vision and goal of this establishment. We are proud to recognize Eleanor Dove for her lifetime of achievements, who at 100 years of age is the oldest living Narragansett, remaining ever faithful to the Tomaquag Museum and its mission.