Ninigret sachem of the Niantic tribe


"Native American Sachem, ca. 1700" Oil on Canvas; Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence. Produced after Ninigret's death, this painting has long been thought to represent Ninigret, sachem of the Niantics in the late seventeenth century but this cannot be confirmed with absolute certainty.

Ninigret, a sachem of the Niantic tribe in New England during the colonization period, was born on Rhode Island in 1610, and is credited with keeping his people out of King Philip's War. His symbol, the war club, with which he signed English documents, represents his willingness to protect his people from colonists. Before King Philip's War, Ninigret allied with colonists during the second Pequot war of 1637. After the war, other tribal leaders worked with Ninigret to remove colonists from Native land in the Long Island area. In light of Native actions, the colonists declared war on his tribe, forcing Ninigret to flee to the swamps of Long Island. After escaping colonial soldiers, Ninigret refused to join any more conflicts against the English settlers, leading to his refusal to join King Philip's War. Throughout his life, Ninigret made decisions based on his people's best interest and a sharp eye for both Native and European politics. While he stayed out of the devastating conflict that shook late seventeenth-century New England, he displayed heroic commitment to Indian sovereignty and independence. 

Native American Heroism
King Philip's War
Ninigret sachem of the Niantic tribe