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Heritage Programs: Overview

Dancers representing the Commission's Heritage Subcommittees perform at the annual Rhode Island Heritage Festival.

The Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission recognizes our state's remarkable ethnic diversity and the contributions that immigrants from around the world have made to Rhode Island's social, economic, political, and cultural history. While studying these aspects of the state's development, the Commission strives to preserve the traditions of each ethnic group, foster pride in ethnic heritage, and promote a sense of brotherhood and understanding among our citizens. Thirty-six subcommittees currently operate within the parameters of the heritage programming guidelines.

The responsibilities of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission include coordinating programs with private groups, public groups, or agencies to meet the cultural needs of Rhode Island citizens, observing important events in the state's history with suitable celebrations, and sponsoring and conducting heritage festivals. The Commission coordinates an annual heritage festival, sponsors studies of folk life and ethnic history, and works with other organizations to present educational programs about ethnic traditions and history. In addition, the Commission sponsors the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame and has produced a series of booklets describing the histories of different ethnic groups in Rhode Island. These various projects are organized by representatives from more than thirty-six different ethnic groups.

Individuals, groups, or institutions desiring to promote the social, cultural, historic or ethnic heritage of Rhode Island are invited to email J. Paul Loether or call him at (401)222-4130.

pw hawk image

Lee "Braveheart" Edmonds and Harry "Hawk" Edmonds
of the Pokanoket/Wampanoag tribe stop for a photo at the
1999 Inter-Tribal Powwow.