Princess Red Wing (Mary E. Glasko)

Inducted: 1978
Born: 1896
Died: 1987

Born on March 21, 1896, in Sprague, Connecticut, Mary E. Glasko was the daughter of Walter and Hannah (nee Weeden) Glasko. Her mother, a Pokanoket, named her Princess Red Wing after the red-winged blackbird. Since then, she has been known as Princess Red Wing of the Seven Crescents, from the Royal House of Pokanoket. Influenced by her mother and father Walter, a Narragansett, who was related to notable indigenous, such as King Philip’s War veteran, Simeon Simons, who fought with Metacomet (or King Philip), Princess Red Wing spent her life honoring the history and culture of her people.

Married first to Horace Peck until his death in 1927, she then wed Mohegan Daniel Congdon (aka Sagamore White Oak that Bends) in 1936 in the Indian Room of the Narragansett Hotel. The ceremony highlighted indigenous and modern Baptist customs.

Co-founder and editor of The Narragansett Dawn tribal newspaper, which was published from 1935-1936, she also became Sachem of the New England Council of Chiefs in 1945, where she presided over sacred ceremonies and festivals. She served as curator of the Tomaquag Museum in Arcadia, Richmond, which she co-founded in 1958 with archeologist, the late Mrs. Eva Butler.

Known as a colorful storyteller of the Narragansett community, she maintained and commemorated the oral traditions of her tribal nation. On her role, she commented, “My life’s work has been to keep up the heritage of my people, teaching it to all races and nationalities, and especially to the youth.”
From 1947 to 1970, she served as a member of the Speaker’s Research Committee of the undersecretariat of the United Nations. In 1975, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Human Affairs by the University of Rhode Island. In that year she also became an officer on the Native American Subcommittee of the Rhode Island Bicentennial of Independence Commission (ri76). She was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame for her vast contributions to the state in 1978.

Princess Red Wing died on December 2, 1987, and was interred in Pascoag, Rhode Island. She was survived by her daughter Susan Miller of Warwick, her son Walter Peck and adopted son, Thomas Sanders, both of Tampa, Florida, and a brother Francis E. Glasko of Burrillville. Her husband had predeceased her in 1959.

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