Center for the Study of Slavery & Justice at Brown University Presents: Chiefs of the Sea: The Accounts of Charles Lansing and Paul Cuffe, Jr., 1806-1839, with Dr. Jason Mancini
Thurs, June 16 at 5:30pm at Joukowsky Forum, 111 Thayer st, Providence, RI 02906
Reception to follow
More than nine million acres of Indian Country in southern New England and Long Island was reduced to less than 30,000 acres by the American Revolution. Europeans, through military and technological dominance, consolidated control not just over land, but also over legal and economic systems. Indians across the region, though they were widely perceived to be vanishing, adjusted in different ways to this rapidly changing world. One important and largely unseen shift involved the participation of Indian men in various forms of maritime labor – from shipbuilding to whaling. Thousands of Indians and those of Indian descent found work in customs districts such as New London, New Haven, Providence, New York, Sag Harbor, and New Bedford. Despite this, almost nothing is known about their lives and experiences at sea.
The Narragansett Chief, or the Adventures of a Wanderer, a recently rediscovered autobiographical narrative now answers many questions about the experiences of American Indian mariners. Published anonymously in 1832, the account related by Charles Lansing parallels that of Paul Cuffe, Jr. (Wampanoag/Pequot) who published his own account in 1839. Together, recounting nearly 70 voyages to five continents and Pacific Islands, these texts illuminate the global travels of Native people, their experience of race and power, and their documentation of empire and the reshaping of world systems in the early nineteenth century.
About Dr. Jason Mancini
Dr. Jason Mancini joined Connecticut Humanities as Executive Director in 2018, engaging and recentering Connecticut’s history and heritage community around collaborations, racial and cultural equity, and digital initiatives. He is also a co-founder of Akomawt Educational Initiative and former Executive Director of the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center. For 35 years, he has worked for, collaborated with, and supported initiatives of the tribes and Indigenous peoples of New England, Alaska, Hawai’i, and Aotearoa (New Zealand). His academic interests include Indigenous social networks, Indigenous migration and cultural geography, maritime history, and critical race theory. Jason has served as Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Connecticut and at Connecticut College, Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Brown University, and Social Sciences Instructor at Sea for Sea Education Association (SEA). Jason holds a M.A. and Ph. D. in anthropology from the University of Connecticut with expertise in the ethnohistory of New England.
Co-sponsored by Tomaquag Museum