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Lorén Spears discusses historic Roger Williams book Wednesday at La Grua

Roger Williams liked to stay busy. In addition to his "real jobs" as a theologian, founder of Rhode Island and zookeeper, he also found time to write, in 1643, a book called "A Key to Language in America."

Regarded as one of the most important documents of early Indigenous American culture, "A Key" is valuable on a variety of levels, including historical, political, liguistic and spiritual. Williams researched the work by recording the day-to-day experiences of the Narragansett people of Rhode Island in their own words — and, above all, it's a remarkable portrait of the Naragansetts and their sibling tribes in the period of time leading up to King Philip's War.

One of the most renowned authorities on "A Key to Language in America" is Lorén Spears, who will discuss a newly edited version of the book and its continued significance Wednesday at the La Grua Center as part of their "Good Stories, Well Told" lecture series. Spears, executive director of the Tomaquag Museum in Exeter, R.I., and a member of the Narragansett tribe, will also sign copies of the book. Worth noting: Another of the book's editors is Stonington resident Dorothy Herman Papp.

Lorén Spears, "Good Stories, Well Told," 6 p.m. Wednesday, La Grua Center, 32 Water St., Stonington; $5 suggested donation; (860) 535-2300.

 

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