To learn more about Lorén M. Spears’ work at the Tomaquag Museum, the RI Expansion Arts Program sat down with Lorén, Narragansett, Executive Director of Tomaquag Museum and a member of the RI Arts Council. She holds a master’s in Education and received a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from the University of Rhode Island for her dedicated work. She is an author, traditional artist and shares her cultural knowledge with the public through museum programs.
RIEAP: You have served so many roles in the community. What have been some of the most meaningful moments during your career as an educator, activist, author and/or artist?
Lorén: The most meaningful moment was the creation of the Nuweetooun School. It was impactful for my own personal children, other tribal children and children in general attending the school. I think that was important as it integrated all the things I do as an educator, activist, and traditional knowledge person or someone who passes down information from one generation to another. In the Tomaquag Museum, I also play an external role through the work I do with the creation of the Indigenous Empowerment Network, which is intended to create opportunity for Indigenous people through job training and development, entrepreneurship, educational and cultural opportunities in the arts, traditional cultural knowledge, environmental sustainability and advocacy. One of my most important roles is acting as a bridge between the Indigenous community and their cultural knowledge to the general public. Through the Tomaquag Museum and the Indigenous Empowerment Network, we act as a bridge for the Native community but also educate through our programs, partnership, collaboration, and professional development on cultural competency, anti-racism, equity and justice.
Read the rest of the interview and learn more about the Tomaquag Museum’s origin and its new 18 acre expansion.