Signatures of Rhode Island’s Indigenous Leaders

This four-minute video explores the signatures of Narragansett and Pokanoket sachems in 17th century documents contained in the Rhode Island State Archives at 33 Broad Street in downtown Providence.


In the video, RI Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea and Associate Director of Education and Public Programs Lane Sparkman describe some of the signatures of historic Indigenous leaders on deeds that can be seen on-line.


(Above, left) The signature of Narragansett Chiefs Canonicus and Miantinomi appear on the 1637 Aquedneck Deed granting Aquidneck Island to William Coddington, principal founder of Portsmouth and Newport and one of the signers of the Portsmouth Compact. (Above, right) The signature of Narragansett Sachem Wanamataunewit appears at the top as a witness to the document as does the signature of the Pokanoket Massasoit Ousamequin at the bottom..


(Above, left) The mark of Wamsutta, son of the Massasoit Osamequin, also known as Alexander, appears on this document. (Above, right) The marks of Narragansett Chief Canonicus and his nephew Miantinomi appear on another document. The marks depict a bow and an arrow.

Click here for a page on the 1638 Deed to Providence

Click here for a page on the 381st anniversary of the 1638 Portsmouth Compact