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slides: James Clayton Sattel’s RI Views: Rhode Island Thanksgiving

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Photographer James Clayton Sattel is passionate about Rhode Island, particularly those shores, crags, and vistas of his home island: Aquidneck.

This week, Jim has traced some of the historic landscapes of Rhode Island that relate to the coming Thanksgiving holiday. It turns out that Massachusetts can't lay full claim to the holiday.

To see more of or purchase Sattel's distinctive views, go here.

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It all begins here, doesn't it?

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Mount Hope

Rhode Island's Native American history has much to do this view of Mt. Hope, home of the Pokanokets.

The Pilgrims lost more than half of their people due to sickness and starvation over the first winter. The Pokanoket felt sympathy for the Pilgrims' plight and began to teach them how to plant crops and live in this country. Despite the fears initially felt by the Pilgrims, the Pokanoket quickly reached a pact of peace with the new settlers. Bradford referred to the Pokanoket leader as “their great Sachem, called Massasoit.”

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On Mount Hope

This land was the location of the Pokanocket tribe atop Mt. Hope in current Bristol/Warren area.

The Pokanoket tribe is the headship tribe of the many tribes that make up the Wampanoag Nation, which was at times referred to as the Pokanoket Nation or the Pokanoket Confederacy or known as the Pokanoket Country. The Pokanoket tribe is best known for the "first Thanksgiving" with the Pilgrims.


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More turkeys

As I started on my way to explore Thanksgiving in Rhode Island this year for this slideshow, I was greeted by this herd of wild turkeys. They were my guides!

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The seat

A breathless first look at this beautiful granite rock. I had never dreamed this was in Rhode Island. The political seat of the many bands that are collectively known as the Wampanoag Nation was located in the realm of Pokanoket, where one of the most significant historic sites is found on Mount Hope (Potumtuk - The lookout of Pokanoket). At the time of the pilgrims’ arrival in Plymouth the realm of Pokanoket included parts of Rhode Island and much of Southeastern Massachusetts.

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Seat of power and legend

Oral traditions hold that this landmark was a place where Massasoit held council. The quartz outcropping creates an imposing "entitled" physical as well as well as symbolic, spiritual, and political seat of power.

In a Wampanoag creation story, the earth, or Turle, was formed from mud, lifted up from the ocean's bottom, and placed upon the turtle's back. For those who know the story, you cn see it in this ancient outcropping.

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Preparing feasts

From the land's first occupants to the next wave... the recreation of early 18th-century cooking at Coggeshall Farm in Bristol conjure up the images for me of early Thanksgiving preparations.... 

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Windows to the past

Scenes at Coggeshall make it so easy (and enjoyable) to picture (and photograph) an earlier time.

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More feasting

How lucky we are to have such establishments as The White Horse Tavern, still serving food and drinks to wayfarers like me... since 1673. I hear they put on a great dinner on Thanksgiving Day!

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What makes Thanksgiving

Where would we be on Thanksgiving Day without our local bounty. We have Rhode Island farmers to thank for it.

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Had too much pie? A beloved part of Thanksgiving on Aquidneck is the Newport Running Club Thanksgiving Pie Run... right down this route!


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