Oldest living Narragansett Indian on the tribal rolls


Eleanor Dove, known as Pretty Flower, is the oldest living Narragansett Indian on the tribal rolls. She once worked as an artist model at the Rhode Island School of Design; her work was used by a sculptor for a piece that appeared at the New York 1939 World’s Fair.  Eleanor married Ferris Babcock Dove; he was the Naragansett war chief and assisted the tribe in gaining federal recognition. Together,  Eleanor and Ferris ran a popular restaurant called Dovecrest which also acted as a community kitchen to Naragansett tribal members in need. The Dovecrest became the Tomaquag Museum which is dedicated to promoting indigenous history culture and arts. For the complete Boston Globe article, follow our link.

Meet the Narragansett leader who is still going strong at 99

By Thomas Farragher | Boston Globe Article

She was born in 1918, when Woodrow Wilson was in the White House and the Boston Red Sox vanquished the Chicago Cubs to win another World Series, a child of the Depression who would become a wife, mother, entrepreneur, beloved elder, and the keeper of a flame that remains sacred to her.

They called her “Pretty Flower.’’ But growing up, she was called other things, once taunted by a white kid at school, who — in post-World War I America — didn’t quite know what to make of her.

“I can faintly remember some kid saying something to me and another kid came up to him and said: ‘Leave her alone. She’s a Narragansett Indian,’ ’’ Eleanor Dove recalled the other day in the kitchen of her home here. “I must have been about 11 or 12. I wasn’t white, and I wasn’t black. I was Indian. It means everything to me.’’

Eleanor Dove is the oldest living Narragansett Indian on the tribal rolls.

When the tribe holds its 342nd annual meeting — or powwow — this weekend in Charlestown, there will be a church service, food vendors, arts and crafts, and closely held customs: the grand entry, the lighting of the sacred fire, the smoking of the peace pipe.

At the spiritual center of it all will be a stately old woman who, when she closes her eyes, can glimpse her tribal heritage as it flashes by in bright and proud vignettes that 10 decades have failed to obscure. [ Read entire article ]

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