Paulla Dove Jennings

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Paulla Dove Jennings
File from Flickr (7366128172).jpg
Paulla Dove Jennings in 2012 (right)
EducationCommunity College of Rhode Island
OccupationProfessional story teller, educator and children’s book author, curator
EmployerBoston Children's Museum, Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum
Known forBook, Strawberry Thanksgiving, lawsuit regarding a raid on a tribal smoke shop

Paulla Dove Jennings is a member of the Narragansett tribe and a professional story teller, educator and children’s book author.

Personal history and tribal identification[edit]

Paulla "Sunflower" Dove Jennings was born to Eleanor (Clan Mother Pretty Flower) and Ferris (War Chief Roaring Bull) Dove. Her family is of mixed Niantic and Narragansett tribal identification.[1] The family hails from the Turtle Clan, known as keepers of history, tribal lore, and legends.[2] Jennings' father was the last traditional Narragansett war chief and graduated from Bacone College.[3] He and his wife ran a popular restaurant and trading post for many years called Dovecrest, later the site of a school aimed at teaching a curriculum which reflected native history and values.[4] Jennings was one of four children, she learned her tribal and family history from her grandmother.


Jennings also obtained a degree from the Community College of Rhode Island and has worked as a curator for both the Boston Children's Museum and the Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum in Exeter, Rhode Island.[5] She has performed as a storyteller at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.[6] In 2010, Jennings served as the Tribal Historian in Residence for the certificate program in Native American Studies at the UMASS Amherst.[7]

In addition to her work as an educator and storyteller, Jennings has been politically active in her tribe. She has served on her tribal council, and in 2007 ran an unsuccessful campaign for the position of chief sachem.[8] She and her son Adam were among the plaintiffs[9] in a lawsuit against Rhode Island State Police, which in July 2003 raided a tribal smoke shop. The raid resulted in eight arrests and eight injured,[10] including Jennings's son.[11] Jennings herself has spoken publicly about the case as an infringement on Narragansett tribal sovereignty.[12]

Strawberry Thanksgiving[edit]

Strawberry Thanksgiving was written for the Multicultural Celebrations at The Children's Museum of Boston, part of a series of books designed to educate children about different cultures. Written by Jennings and illustrated by Ramona Peters, the book tells how a young boy, Adam, learns to forgive his sister by hearing his grandmother tell the story of Strawberry Thanksgiving.


  1. ^ Senier, Siobhan, editor. Dawnland Voices. University of Nebrask Press. ISBN 9780803246867.
  2. ^ Spears, Loren (2010). Place, Memories, Stories, & Dreams: The Gifts of Inspiration Curriculum Guide (PDF). Rhode Island: Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum.
  3. ^ Miller, G. Wayne. "Race in R.I.: The Invisible Natives". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  4. ^ Senier, Siobhan, editor. Dawnland Voices. University of Nebrask Press. ISBN 9780803246867.
  5. ^ "Charlestown Land Trust Newsletter" (PDF). Vision. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  6. ^ Anonymous (25 September 2004). "Today at the First Americas Festival". Washington Post.
  7. ^ "Resident Tribal Historians". UMass Ameherst. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  8. ^ Anonymous (29 October 2007). "New England in Brief". Boston Globe.
  9. ^ Native American Press (25 March 2005). "Federal judge dismisses some claims in smoke-shop lawsuit". The Ojibwe News.
  10. ^ Belluck, Pam (2003-12-30). "Tribe Loses Suit on Tax-Free Tobacco". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  11. ^ Zuckerman, Elizabeth (2005-03-23). "Witness: Worker not fighting when ankle broken". The Day. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  12. ^ Sullivan, Lee (17 November 2010). "Colloquium Speakers Address Inequality, the Effects of Words". The Good 5c Cigar. Retrieved 14 April 2013.

External links[edit]