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Portrait of Native American Sachem

(c. 1700)

This portrait of a Native American sachem until recently was thought to be Ninigret of the Niantic Nation. Family tradition states that the portrait was commissioned by John Winthrop Jr. of Connecticut in recognition of a lifesaving act by Ninigret. However, there is no documentation of either the act or the commission. The painting descended through the Winthrop family before its donation to the RISD Museum. Other scholarship suggests that it is depicts Robin Cassacinamon, a Pequot leader who was known to have a friendly relationship with the Winthrop family. Based on the date of the painting, it has also been posited that the subject is Ninigret II, son of the famed leader.

Courtesy of the RISD Museum, Providence, RI (48.246)

Portrait of Pometacom (King Philip)

(c. 1860)

Pometacom or Metacomet, also known as King Philip, was sachem of the Wampanoag Nation. King Philip is often remembered for the bloody conflict bearing his name. Starting in 1675, King Philip’s War was a brutal clash between the Native American peoples in New England and the British settlers. Although Metacomet was killed in 1676, in some reaches of New England, the conflict continued until 1678. 

Courtesy of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Brown University (78-7A)

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