Free Lecture: Westerly’s Indian Neighborhood

Westerly Historical Society’s Sunday lecture series. Feb 3rd, 2pm. Free & open to the public. Held a the Babcock Smith House's Caorriage House, Westerly, RI.

"Westerly’s Indian Neighborhood"

Dr. Jason Mancini, Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center

While Indians were always present in Westerly - a middle ground between od placenames like Misquamicut or Weekapaug. Beginning in the 1860s, though, a discrete urban Indian neighborhood formed. The community of Pequots, Narragansetts, Wampanoags, Shinnecocks, Montauks, and Nipmucs is virtually unknown to most people and non-existent in academic literature. Located principally in Westerly’s North End, the neighborhood was anchored by the Pleasant Street Baptist Church (“the Indian Church”), a number of Indian-owned businesses, and an intertribal organization called the American Indian Federation that was chartered in Westerly in 1931. This talk will bring a forgotten history to light though photographs, maps, and oral histories. The audience is encouraged to share their memories as well.


Jason Mancini is Senior Researcher at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at the University of Connecticut, and Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Connecticut College. Jason holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Connecticut with expertise in the archaeology and ethnohistory of New England. His current research projects focus on Indian histories after 1700 and involve Indian social networks, Indian mariners, urban Indian communities, race and ethnicity in New England, cultural landscapes, and oral histories.

For more information & directions, visit or contact