Indians & Mohegan
North American tribe of the Algonquian
language family and of the Eastern
Woodlands culture area. They were living in what
is now eastern Connecticut when the first white settlers
arrived in New England. The Mohegan sided with the
English against other North American tribes, and by
the 1700s were the only indigenous peoples of prominence
remaining in southern New England.
Mohegan practiced hunting, fishing, and farming; their
staple crop was maize. As white settlements gradually
surrounded and then displaced the tribe, the Mohegan
dwindled in number. They sold most of their lands
and moved to a reservation in New London County, Connecticut.
Surviving members later scattered, some joining other
indigenous settlements. A remnant continued to live
In the 1990 census 674 people identified themselves
as being of Mohegan descent, although no pure-blood
Mohegan exist today.
tribe was romanticized by the American novelist James
Fenimore Cooper in his book, The Last of the Mohicans
"Mohegan," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia
© 1997-2001 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
The earliest human inhabitants of
the Massachusetts area lived about 10,000 BC, after
the glaciers had retreated. Archaeological sites indicate
several other cultures developed in the millennia
that followed. For centuries before Europeans arrived
in the area it was inhabited by Algonquian-speaking
groups of Native Americans.
European colonization began in the early 1600s, seven
major groups lived in the area. The Wampanoag
and the Nauset were on Cape
Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket Island; the
Massachuset had settlements
along Massachusetts Bay; the Nipmuc
were in central Massachusetts; the Pocomtuck
lived in the northwest; the Pennacook
were near the New Hampshire border; and the Mahican
were in the Berkshire area.
native peoples lived largely by hunting deer, catching
fish and shellfish, and growing corn, beans, and squash,
migrating from forest to coastal areas to take advantage
of seasonal resources. Approximately 30,000 native
people inhabited Massachusetts in 1614, but epidemics
of disease brought by whites soon greatly reduced
"Massachusetts," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia
© 1997-2000 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
People of the waters that are never still
and early history
to tradition, Mohican history says that a great people
came from the north and west. They crossed the waters
where the land almost touched. The people inhabited
these lands for many years, leaving settlements behind
when they moved on. It is said that they were looking
for a place where the waters were never still, like
the land from which they originally came.
a long journey, these people settled in the east.
In time, they divided into different groups and dialects.
The oldest of these, the Muh-he-con-ne-ok or Mahikans,
lived along the Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk, later called Hudson's
River. The waters of this river are never still because
of the influence of the tides. There they lived, forming
a great Mahikan Confederacy, for several hundreds
of years before the arrival of white men. The area
they inhabited included land south of what is now
called Lake Champlain, west to Scoharie Creek, east
to Vermont and New Hampshire and south to Manhattan
Stockbridge Indians were originally part of the Mahikan
Confederacy. The Munsee,
on the other hand, were a group of native people in
the Delaware Confederacy. The land where they lived
was west of the Hudson River, covering an area on
either side of the Delaware River and stretching south
to what was later called the state of New Jersey.
lifestyles of the Mahikan and Munsee were so similar
that to describe one is to describe the other also.
Their lives were rooted in the woodlands in which
they lived. These were covered with red spruce, elm,
pine, oak, maple and birch trees. They were filled
with black bear, deer, moose, beaver, otter, bobcat
and mink, as well as turkey and other birds. The clean
rivers were filled with fish.
the native people built their homes near rivers so
that they could be close to food, water, and transportation.
Their village homes, called wigwams, were circular
and made of bent saplings covered with hides or bark.
They also lived in long- houses, which were often
very large, sometimes as long as one hundred feet,
with curved roofs shingled with elm bark. Several
families of the same clan lived in each long-house.
There were no windows, but every twenty feet or so
there was a fire pit with a smoke hole above it ,
the center of one family's section.
women planted gardens in the spring, the men fished
for herring and shad which swam up the river in large
schools. From dugout and bark canoes, the men speared
or netted fish. During late summer and fall they hunted
the animals which were so plentiful in the woods.
After the harvest, dried meat and vegetables and smoked
fish were stored in pits dug deep in the ground and
lined with grass or bark.
the winter months, time was spent doing a variety
of things. Eating utensils and containers were made
and repaired, as were hunting gear and tools. Pottery
was made for future use, clothing and blankets were
fashioned and often beautifully decorated with porcupine
quills, shells and other natural things. If the food
supply began to run low during the winter, men traveled
by snowshoe to hunt game.
spring meant gathering sap from the maple trees to
make syrup and sugar. The round of planting and fishing
began again. The Mahikan and Munsee people lived in
harmony with the seasons and found everything they
needed to live the good life from the abundance that
Mother Earth provided.
the complete history and more information please visit
and Graphic from the Mohican
Com Site for more info please visit this site.
Mohicans Still Exist
Mohicans are sometimes confused with the Mohegans
who live in Connecticut. I believe the Mohicans are
the grandfathers of the Mohegans. The people who first
came to the upper Hudson River Valley were the ancestors
of the Mohicans, Pequots
and the Mohegans. The ancestors of the Mohegans left
this area and migrated west, becoming known as the
Pequots, the invaders. Then the ancestors of the Mohegans
separated from the Pequots. Thus, these three distinct
cultures can trace their history back to the some
of the same ancestors. There are no written records
of this, but the first people of the area were living
here over 12,000 years ago. The Mohegans, Mohicans,
and Pequots have been separate and distinct nations
for hundreds of years, well before 1609.
"Many Trails," symbol was created by Edwin Martin of
the Mohican Nation to symbolize the history of the nation.
This interpretation was inspired by a piece of beadwork
owned by a friend of Mohican descent.
and Symbol from the 'The
Mohicans Still Exist' Site, for more info please
visit this site.
Last of the Mohicans Cooper, James Fenimore
their site for more information
James Fenimore Cooper wrote "Last of the Mohicans"
in 1826 he made the Mahican famous. Unfortunately,
he also made them extinct in many minds and confused
their name and history with the Mohegan from eastern
Connecticut. This error has persisted, and most Americans
today would be surprised to learn that the Mahican
are very much alive and living in Wisconsin under
an assumed name, Stockbridge Indians.
they include all Algonquin tribes between the Hudson
and Connecticut Rivers, some estimates of the Mahican
population in 1600 range as high as 35,000. However,
when limited to the core tribes of the Mahican confederacy
near Albany, New York, it was somewhere around 8,000.
By 1672 this had fallen to around 1,000. At the lowpoint
in 1796, 300 Stockbridge, the "Last of the Mohicans,"
were living with the Oneida
and Brotherton in upstate New York. However, if the
Mahican with the Wyandot
and Delaware in Ohio were
also included, the actual total time was probably
closer to 600. The census of 1910 listed 600 Stockbridge
and Brotherton in northern Wisconsin.
Three years after the passage of the Indian Reorganization
Act in 1934, the Stockbridge became a federally recognized
tribe. They currently have almost 1,500 members living
on, or near, their reservation west of Green Bay.
There are also 1,700 Brotherton Indians (without federal
status) on the east side of Lake Winnebago.
Mahican and Mohican are correct, but NOT Mohegan,
a different tribe in eastern Connecticut who were
related to the Pequot. In their own language, the
Mahican referred to themselves collectively as the
"Muhhekunneuw" "people of the great river." This name
apparently was difficult for the Dutch to pronounce,
so they settled on "Manhigan," the Mahican word for
wolf and the name of one their most important clans.
Variations were: Maeykan, Mahigan, Mahikander, Mahinganak,
Maikan, and Mawhickon. In later years, the English
altered this into the more-familiar Mahican or Mohican.
The French name for the Mahican was Loup (French for
wolf) and followed a similar reasoning. However, the
French were prone to using this without distinction
for most Algonquin-speaking tribes south of the St.
Lawrence (Mahican, Delaware, and Abenaki). Other names:
Akochakaneh (Iroquois), Canoe Indians, Hikanagi (Shawnee),
Monekunnuk, Mourigan (French), Nhikana (Shawnee),
Orunges, River Indians, Stockbridge, Tonotaenrat,
First Nations, for complete history and much more
information, please visit the First
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