Tomaquag Museum celebrates Strawberry Thanksgiving, June 7, 2014

PaullaDoveJennings
Narragansett storyteller Paulla Dove Jennings.

Tomaquag Museum in Exeter, R.I. will celebrate a Native American Strawberry Thanksgiving Saturday, June 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In addition to giving thanks every day, Native Americans of this region traditionally observe 13 thanksgivings throughout the year such as Maple Sugar Thanksgiving in early spring.

Strawberry Thanksgiving celebrates the first berry of the growing season. “The strawberry is a symbol of the gift of friendship,” says Lorén Spears, executive director of the museum and a member of the Narragansett Indian Tribe. “Our tradition is giving thanks every day for the gifts from the Creator – all the beauty that surrounds us and allows us not only to survive, but to thrive as indigenous people.”

LorenSpears
Tomaquag Museum executive director Lorén Spears celebrates Strawberry Thanksgiving.

The official thanksgiving ceremony is scheduled to start Saturday, June 7 at 11 a.m. with Narragansett tribal elder Dawn Dove bringing people together to give thanks for the strawberry. She will lead ceremony with a a smudge of smoldering wild herbs, pray in the Narragansett language, and end in song with everyone participating in social dance know as the Friendship Dance. Then, Paulla Dove Jennings, a Narragansett storyteller, will share the story of the Strawberry Thanksgiving along with other traditional stories.

Author Robert Peters is scheduled to discuss and sign his new book, “Da Goodie Monsta,” at 1 p.m. Throughout the event, refreshments, children’s activities, crafts and museum tours will be available.

The Strawberry Thanksgiving is free with admittance to the Tomaquag Museum, 390 Summit Road (near Route 165) in Exeter. Admittance to the museum costs $5 for an adult, $4 for a student or elder, and $3 for a child.

More information is available online at tomaquagmuseum.com