November 21, 2006

New England tribes like Plains tribes

East meets western Plains culture at SchemitzunSchemitzun started as the Pequot Festival of Green Corn, but it has evolved into an important meeting place between the New England tribes and the Native culture of the western Plains. It could even be called their most significant contact since Buffalo Bill Cody brought his Wild West troupe of Plains Indians on a pilgrimage to Norwich in 1907.

Nearly a century ago, Pequot, Mohegan and Narragansett Indians were tremendously impressed by Sioux warriors as the showman and former scout led them in full regalia in a horseback procession to the grave of Uncas. Although eastern Native dress was historically quite different, local tribal leaders copied the Plains war bonnets as an expression of pride and still wear them in private ceremonies. The western influence still runs strong in Schemitzun, which includes one of the largest pow wows in the country.
Comment:  So the Pequot, Mohegan, and Narragansett Indians adopted some Plains customs a century ago because they admired them. That's a far cry from claiming they adopted Plains customs recently because they aren't real Indians and don't have their own cultures.

4 comments:

The Local Crank said...

"That's a far cry from claiming they adopted Plains customs recently because they aren't real Indians and don't have their own cultures."

That would be like noting that Cherokee historically wore turbans and jackets (styles copied from Europeans) and claiming they must therefore be Muslim. I am constantly amazed at the rhetorical contortions anti-sovereignty groups will go to to denigrate Indian culture.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
No one claimed the Mohegan or Narragansett Natives were anything but Natives. Rather, it was the Mashantucket Pequots who had been assimilated out of existence, numbering only two in 1970. Then a Mashantucket Pequot 'tribe' magically reappeared shortly thereafter and reorganized to become the modern 'Pequot tribe' of some 350 strong. In the early 1970s, the last two Pequots petitioned for Federal recognition and actually achieved it in 1983. Since that time, the Mashantucket Pequot 'tribe' sought funding for and then built what has become a billion-dollar gaming and recreation complex that just may be the largest and most successful such entity in the US.
writerfella's uncle T. Dan Hopkins was one of many Native professional actors hired in the 1990s to portray Pequot history in a short movie, "The Witness", that is shown several times a day in the Pequot museum and historical center. Uncle Dan Hopkins' personal dealings with Pequot executives and staff persons led to his observation that all such people were Blacks, and never once did he ever meet a Mashantucket Pequot who was anything but a Black.
An odd note to the making of the film is that the original writer submitted a script and was hired to pursue the project. Later, the tribe fired the writer and took over her script property to complete it themselves. She sued and won against the writers who developed the property into a film. But she was unable to sue the Pequot 'tribe' itself because of sovereignty issues protecting the tribe against litigation by non-Natives. Thank the Grandfather, there is no such provisio operant for writerfella's pending actions against the Oneidas of New York, as writerfella is Native and he has them by the short feathers...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

Actually, several critics have maligned all of Connecticut's Indians as phony. They haven't distinguished between the Pequots and the others. See The Critics of Indian Gaming—and Why They're Wrong for examples.

Again, a classic example of this was Delphine Red Shirt's These Are Not Indians, in which she impugned every tribe in Connecticut. A plethora of respondents showed her to be a Midwestern Indian who knew little about tribal histories on the East Coast.

As I said before, few Indians are pure-blooded these days. Genuine Indians can be part-black as well as part-white. Therefore, saying the Pequots are "black" does nothing to address their mixed heritage.

Tribal membership is political, not racial, which is why tribes could adopt white kidnap victims and black runaway slaves and make them Indians. In short, people can be Indians, and many are Indians, even if they're less than half "Indian" genetically.

Anonymous said...

I am from CT and I am Native American! I am of Native Ancestry from the SouthEast. I also have black and white ancestors but I am Native American. I have traced and documented my ancestry from a Native American Female ancestor.My recent maternal DNA does not say Europe nor does it say African at it says America, Indigenous more than 20000 years. Before that all people came from Africa. I also have several other Native Lines on my family tree. I had grandfather and great grandfather who were Ebonite Black and I have had GGgreat aunts or uncles who were almost lilly white, others look like Indians people of varying degrees and all shades and colores in between. My mother taught me of our Native heritage and her mother taught her. I have never let go of my heritage and passed it on to my children.

Some folks should be glad that us Native americans from the southeast or northeast are carrying on our culture and trying to learn what some of us may have lost from our Native American Brothers and sisters no matter where they reside. Otherwise much of our population or culture on this end would go extinct. So some of may be darker or lighter but it dosen't matter. Did our ancestors know of these superfical things before the white man arrived? Then why is it important now? Yes many of those black or white indians have direct blood lines from their Native ancestors and they have every inherent right to carry on their culture and blood line! Some people need to go back and read history very carefully. There were many accounts of Black indians here amongst other types of Native when the Spaniards first arrived. They even have drawings dipicting the various skin tones and shades. These accounts were given all the way into Mexico and south America and even here in North America.

So many of you who say that we are not indian you need to hush. For the Native American woman who said were are not Indian, I can compare my DNA against hers any day it will show we are of the same origins. Just like she learned her culture and hopefully taught it to her children, we have the right to pass our heritage down to our children. She has been over educated and brain washed. I hope all of her children continue to marry indians and god forbid ever marry a person of another color. She cannot guarantee that will not happen can she? She better hope that her son doesn't fall in love with a "blue eyed blonde or her daughter a Handsome black fellow. Where she lives and resides in Guildford are not to many Natives. She will run back to the Rez to try to ensure her so called Pure Native ancestry? She is full of it! Judgemental white washed goverment raised ignorant Native Woman. She has no monopoly on who is an indian. She had be very careful what she says. She is no more better or more Native than no one. For those of you non-natives who say we are not indians or don't look like indians you are envious and carry the hatred that you ancestors carried when they first set foot upon this land. Miss Reshirt or No one else will ever take away our Native Heritage! So Black skin, white skin or redskin we are Indians, will always be Indians Until the last breath is taken from our bodies. So sit back and watch us your words are useless. For those of you who know our history and defend us many blessings from the ancestors!!!!

Warrior Woman.