Miery

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This picture is of a small stone monument placed by the state of Rhode Island to mark the spot where the Indian leader King Phillip was tracked down and killed in 1676.

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King Phillip was a Wampanoag warrior and chief who led a rebellion that succeeded in burning down most of colonial New England in the 1670’s. With the help of Indian scouts who had converted to Christianity, a colonial militia was eventually able to track Phillip down in the isolated Miery swamp, located outside of what is now Bristol, Rhode Island. Philip’s hands were chopped off and given to the scouts, his head was displayed on a stake at the entrance to Plymouth for twenty years, and his wife and son were captured and sold into slavery in the Caribbean. The proceeds from the sale of hostile Indians were split amongst the leaders of the colonial militias.

I’ve always found King Phillip’s War to be a fascinating time in American history. The Indians were not at such a disadvantage that their defeat was inevitable. But even then, they were fighting against each other and struggling with members of the tribe who wished to assimilate with the Europeans. When I visited the Miery swamp to make this photograph, two hawks were circling directly above me. Just birds hunting, I thought.

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