Memorandum submitted by the Narragansett
Indian Tribal Historic Preservation Office
Re: Cultural Property: Return and Illicit Trade
Item (1604; AS 1242. Male Skull; Narragansett; Rhode Island)
Asco Wequassin (greetings), Mr Speaker:
I am John Brown, Tribal Preservation Officer
of the (Federally recognised and acknowledged sovereign) Narragansett
Indian Tribe. In the early 1600s, when the English people began
making contact with my people, the Narragansett Tribal Nation,
our ancestral territory covered beyond what is now the entirety
of the state of Rhode Island in the New England region of the
United States of America. At the beginning of the colonial era,
we had direct government to government relations with the British
Government and established several treaties with the same.
Much history has crossed between us since that
time and many things have changed for each of us. Recently, we
have received information that the skull of one of our ancestors
is listed in the collection of the Natural History Museum of London.
This ancestor's remains are identified as 1604; AS1242. Male Skull;
Narragansett; Rhode Island.
We are heartened to be informed that the House
of Commons, in Committee, is addressing the issue of Cultural
Property: Return and Illicit Trade. It is our understanding that
under English Common Law, the dead cannot be owned. May one of
the fruits of this Committee's deliberations be the return of
the remains of this Narragansett, to the Narragansett Nation,
for proper ceremony and re-burial. We also seek any Narragansett
held in British collections.
My people's journey from the time and place
since our first contact with your people has been a rough road
of many valleys and peaks. May our mutual path from this time
forward be a more even road, paved with truth, respect and honorable
I am directly reachable by phone at: Narragansett
Indian Tribal Historic Preservation Office, PO Box 700, Wyoming
RI 02898 and by phone at: 1401 2411865; fax 1401 5394217.
Tau-botdan-tamock Wut-che Warne (we are giving
thanks for all things).