April 02, 2008

Narragansett stone masons

Indian stone walls lovingly filmedIf all you know about the Narragansett Indian tribe is the seemingly endless smoke shop raid flap and the West Warwick casino brouhaha, tune in to Channel 36 at 8 tonight for a whole other dimension when the local PBS station broadcasts Stories in Stone, about the intricate and elaborate stone fences the Narragansetts have been building across southeastern New England since the mid 1600s.

Curiously, it is pointed out near the start of the film that apparently before the arrival of the English colonists in New England, the Narragansetts didn’t build stone fences of their own. There was no need for it, being a people who hunted and fished and had no boundary lines. But when the English began employing them to help build fences to keep in the colonists’ cattle, the Narragansetts did an even better job of it than their teachers.

And they’ve been doing it ever since.

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