By HHA Member Tom Helmer
These are FICTIONAL walks through Time, three to the past, one to the future. They are based on Artifacts, Features and Locations in Tomaquag Valley.
In every other area on this site, we try to accurately conveyed only those things the objective lens of a camera records. The writing discipline imposed on our contributors is primarily centered around the single question “What?”
However, now we are moving into a different aspect of our Web Site. In this wing of our History Library, and for this set of four in particular, you are entering the world of Historical Fiction. The question is no longer “What”, but “Why”, “How”, “When” and “Who”.
The “4 Pack” stories are arranged chronologically. They begin with the pure Indigenous era of “Sunrise Barrow”, set in the time before the first European contact.
The next explores the era of “Contact”, as the Narragansett faced the monumental change of thousands of Europeans swarming inland from coastal enclaves. The predictable result was a rapid shift from thankful dependence on the Indigenous People by the Europeans to open warfare between the expanding Colonizers and the dismayed Indigenous Peoples, called the “Pequot War in History.
Then, within fifty years of the founding of Plymouth Colony, came a second wave of warfare against the Indigenous People, called “King Phillip’s War”.
This is an historical event that remains unknown to the majority of European descent, yet retains strong ramifications among the Indigenous People nearly 350 years later. This war is the “500 pound gorilla in the room” which dominates the story “The High Cliff Cougar”.
In the third story, “The Happy Girl”, the cultural / political landscape has been drastically altered by the aftermath of “King Phillip’s War”.
The fourth story, “Tomaquag Towers”, is set in the not too distant future, taking Tomaquag Valley through yet another era in the land’s long history. “Tomaquag Towers” is set on a massive construction project in the future, the year 2030, which is not that far away from today…
I take you to each of these four cultural landscapes, each vastly different from the other three, through the freedom of imaginative fiction, to create a sense of “Why?” for these places. I remind you that these stories are Fiction, plausible imaginative conjecture.
As each of them deals with events which remain emotionally charged to this day. I have labored for accuracy in my stories, seeking input from the Narragansett Community and Colonial Historians to widen my eyes and increase my knowledge of these times. Yet I know that perfect harmony across the full spectrum of opinion divided in the Past by War and it’s aftermath, and in the Future, by different mutually exclusive Priorities, realistically is not possible. It is not my purpose to offend or delight either end of the spectrum of opinion, I write the best History I can, even in fictional settings.
However, if the historical fiction resonates with you, I urge you to enter the open door of your own curiosity and explore the many books and Internet sites which present these times as serious history, rather than grammar school mythology. In particular, I again emphasize that without accurate knowledge of “King Philip’s War”, you are operating with childish illusions and fairy tales regarding the events that occurred on the ground where you live.
I make four recommendations to you for suggested reading.
Concerning the Narragansett Tribe, residents of Tomaquag Valley: A History of the Narragansett Tribe Of Rhode Island. by Robert Geake, The History Press, Charleston, SC
Concerning the pre colonial landscape of the entire Tomaquag Valley: Reading The Forested Landscape, by Tom Wessels, The Countryman Press, Woodstock, Vermont. (Pre Colonial landscape practices of the Native Americans, the catastrophic consequences of European diseases among the Native American population)
Concerning “Sunrise Barrow” : Manitou, by James Mavor & Byron Dix, Inner Traditions International, Rochester, Vermont. (Native American astronomical alignments, cultural distinctions between Native Americans and Europeans)
Concerning “The High Cliff Cougar”: King Philip’s War, by Eric Schultz and Michael Tougias, The Countryman Press, Woodstock, Vermont. (The History and Legacy of European America’s war against the Native Americans)