Devoted believers in preserving and teaching about their culture and traditions, Cassius and Dawn Spears are leading efforts to establish the Narragansett Food Sovereignty Initiative (NFSI). The initiative’s goal is to enable Narragansett people to provide food, and promote health and wellness through sustainable agriculture, economic development, community involvement, and cultural and educational programs. The NFSI is located at Crandall Farm in Westerly on a 40-acre parcel of land owned by the Narragansett Tribe.
Dawn and Cassius will share their work at NFSI to create a sustainable farm and pollinator habitat that incorporates the indigenous connection to the natural world. They will also focus on the sustainable use of resources in the community. The presentation will include cultural materials and examples of how the community maintains their food sovereignty.
Cassius and Dawn Spears are educators and cultural consultants whose efforts include work with the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum, educational television programming including PBS American Experience, and motion pictures, such as Crooked Arrows.
Cassius (Narragansett) has worked with his tribe and the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Office as a tribal liaison and was appointed to serve on the Regional Tribal Conservation Advisory Committee of the East Region.
Dawn (Narragansett/Choctaw) has served as the Narragansett Tribe’s Tribal Secretary for two terms and is Executive Director of Northeast Indigenous Arts Alliance, a consortium formed from her prior role as the Native Arts Program Manager for the New England Foundation for the Arts in Boston, MA.
The Beechwood Lecture Series, offered to the public, free of charge, is a joint effort of the URI Master Gardener Program and the RI Wild Plant Society. Master Gardeners receive education credits for attending.
Upcoming lectures in 2016
11/15/16 What’s New in the Nursery World, Warren Leach, Tranquil Lake Nursery