June 09, 2008

Mashantucket Pequots strike back

Gambling success brings controversy for tribeSince the tribe won federal recognition in 1983, critics have questioned the authenticity of their tribal ancestry, saying that many people turned out to be Pequots when the prospect of a casino entered the picture.

Some had considered the tribe to be extinct, wiped out by the settlers and other native tribes, including the Mohegan, the traditional enemies of the Pequot, in the 1636-1637 Pequot War.

Hitting back at these critics, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum opened an exhibition on May 17, the day after the new tower was opened, called "Race: Are We So Different?"

"The American public has this idea of native people that's ingrained and it's based upon a Plains tradition," museum research director Kevin McBride said, alluding to the image of Indians in Western states "with long hair, hunting buffalo, with a teepee."

"That carries into what people expect the Pequots to look like and act like," McBride said. "They're struck by the fact there's a lot of diversity in terms of ethnicity."

One of the first items on display in the museum is a oversized photograph of some 100 tribal members ranging from fair-skinned blondes and red-heads to blacks and people who look more like the classic image of native Americans.

The diversity stems from the many mixed marriages over the last 400 years with people of different ethnicities.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see The Facts About Indian Gaming.

1 comment:

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Words missing, "...from Congress." But then the Pequots likely have conveniently forgotten those words themselves... $$$ Ka-Ching!
All Best
Russ Bates