Niles , Samuel (Narragansett), 1706 - 1785

Samuel Niles was a spiritual leader or powwow of the Narragansett people, who converted during the Great Awakening to New Light Christianity.  Rejected by the English Congregationalists of Charlestown, Rhode Island for preaching without a license, Niles was ordained by his Native brethren and organized a Separatist Christian community at Narragansett in 1750.  With little or no formal education, he became a popular and successful minister and itinerant preacher to the Narragansett, Mohegan, Montauk, Eastern and Western Niantic, and Eastern and Western Pequot.  He was a role model to Samson Occom and an outspoken critic against the land policies of Thomas Ninigret.  Edward A. Andrews, Native Apostles: Black and Indian Missionaries in the British Atlantic World (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013). Joanna Brooks, “Samson Occom Contemplates His Christian Mentors,” Joel W. Martin and Mark A. Nicholas, eds., Native Americans, Christianity, and the Reshaping of the American Religious Landscape (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2010), 31.

Born: 
c. 1706
Died: 
1785
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