When European settlers arrived in this region, the Mohegan and the Pequot were one tribe, living under the rule of Sassacus. Later Uncas, a subordinate chief, rebelled against Sassacus and assumed the leadership of a small group on the Thames River near Norwich. This group was known as the Mohegan. Today they are the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut.
Official Tribal Name: Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut
Recognition Status: Federally Recognized
Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning:
Common Name / Meaning of Common Name: Mohegan
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Also called the Mohican, they were the eastern branch of the Mahican.
Formerly known as the Mohegan Indian Tribe of Connecticut.
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State(s) Today: Connecticut
In the early 17th century, the Mohegan occupied most of southeastern Connecticut. Their chief village was on the site of the present village of Mohegan on the Thames River.
Reservation: Mohegan Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land
Population at Contact:
After the fall of Sassacus the greater part of the Pequot joined the Mohegan, who in 1643 numbered some 2,300. The Mohegan, supported by the British, became one of the most powerful tribes in southern New England.
As white settlements were extended, the Mohegan sold most of their land and accepted a reservation on the Thames; others joined with neighboring tribes. By the early 19th century, the Mohegans were practically extinct, although they became known to the world with the publication in 1826 of James Fenimore Cooper’s novel “The Last of the Mohicans.”
Registered Population Today:
In 1990 there were about 1,000 Mohegan in the United States.
Tribal Enrollment Requirements:
Charter: They gained federal recognition as a tribe in 1994.
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Language Classification: Algonquian-Wakashan -> Algonquian
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Bands, Gens, and Clans
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In 1996 the Mohegan tribe opened a casino and resort on its reservation in Montville, Conneticut.
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Famous Mohegan Chiefs and Leaders:
- Emma Fielding Baker, revivalist of the Green Corn Ceremony and Tribal Chairperson
- Fidelia Hoscott Fielding (1827–1908), last native speaker of the Mohegan-Pequot language.
- John E. Hamilton (1897-1988), Grand Sachem Chief Rolling Cloud, Indian rights activist
- Samson Occom (1723–1792), Presbyterian minister, who helped relocate the Brothertown Indians to New York state.
- Gladys Tantaquidgeon (1899–2005), anthropologist, herbalist, co-founder of the Tantaquidgeon Museum. Worked to preserve Mohegan culture through the 20th century.
- Uncas (c. 1588 – c. 1683), first sachem of the Mohegans
- Mahomet Weyonomon, sachem who traveled to England in 1735 to seek better treatment of his people
- Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel (née Melissa Jane Fawcett), Mohegan Tribal Historian and author of several books on Mohegan culture, including Medicine Trail: The Life and Lessons of Gladys Tantaquidgeon (2000)
In the News: