HAYWARD: And all the rest of the Pequots that could be found were rounded
up and put together in one place back here in the county. That's where we
find the treaty of 1638, in which the Pequots were given an ultimatum in
order to live. And that's that they would not speak their language and
they would stop practicing their religion and that type of thing. From
1667 when the Pequots were moved here up and through into more modern
times, the Pequots weren't really encouraged to survive.
Colonial Connecticut eventually established a 3,000-acre reserve for the
remnants of the tribe. Over the years, both the
reservation population and
land base continued to shrink.
KIRCHNER (Mashantucket Pequot Tribe): At one point the state was saying
"well if the Indians don't cultivate the land then they don't deserve
it" and land was taken away because the English came here
and they said "we want to till the land, we'll make use of
it." So the state used that as an opportunity to take land away
from the tribe. There's been times where the tribe has asked for
services from the state and the state would provide those services but
take the land as payment.
By the early 1970s there were only two elderly Pequot women living on
the last 200 acres of reservation land. The tribal homeland seemed to
be a heartbeat from extinction.
HAYWARD: The thought was that when the old ones die then this whole
nightmare would go away and we could just turn the place into a state
But Skip Hayward's grandmother had always encouraged him to hang on to
the land at all costs. And that's what he set out to do.
CARTER: When I first came to the reservation, which is close to 10
years ago, there really wasn't any future. There was no promise of
jobs, there was no promise of housing or anything. I was just invited
back. And Skip said that we would be building and trying to make a
living for some of the tribal members in order for us to bring back
some of the people.
The Pequot's massive success with gambling is only the latest effort
to foster economic development and bring tribal members back to the
HOLDER (Mashantucket Pequot Tribe): The reason for the success is
working together for a common goal. The casino wasn't the dream to be.
The casino happened to be what we were allowed to do through the
federal gaming laws. When we tried the greenhouse, the restaurant, a
swine operation, wood cutting and all that sort of thing, it wasn't
successful enough to provide jobs and housing for all the people. The
casino has been able to do that for us.
With annual profits from gaming estimated to be about $600 million,
the tribe has built a community infrastructure on their now 1,200-acre
reservation. They own an additional 1,800 acres of non-reservation
property with plans to purchase another 600 acres.
KIRCHNER: We have a land base now and we'll never let that go. That's
something that's gonna be basic for generations and generations.
CARTER: It has made a drastic impact as far as change of lifestyle and
the things that we can do for tribal people as far as health,
education and housing. Along with fame and fortune comes a lot of
problems. And we're realizing this and we're trying to educate our
children on these problems, so hopefully they can jump over these
HOLDER: We're Native American -- we're proud of it. We're not only
succeeding economically within our own tribe, but we're helping the
entire region through tourism, jobs. With our expansion we'll probably
be one of the largest employers in the state of Connecticut. And we're
here to stay and we're trying to make it as nice as we can.
of Long Pond
The Pequot's experience in archaeological projects served them well
when a residential construction project at Long Pond, near their
reservation, accidentally uncovered an old Pequot burial site. The
discovery of that site was painful to the tribe, but it allowed a rare
window into ancient Pequot society.
BELL (Mashantucket Pequot Tribe): We've done a lot of archaeological
sites and we have over 200 on the reservation. And they've all been
farmsteads, homesteads. It was never -- they were all exciting but
never as devastating as a site like this. And it was something that
was very hard for the tribe to deal with. But we knew we had to deal
with it and answer a lot of questions to ourselves and within
ourselves and the whole tribe of how we would handle what happened
here at this site. And it turned out to be a major cemetery.
MCBRIDE: I think another concern of the tribe was that recognizing
that most native burials are discovered accidentally and the vast
majority of those burials are never reported because of the fear of
individuals that projects will be stopped, land will be taken.
BELL: These sites are being destroyed left and right all over and God
knows how many of them there are that have never been brought out in
the open. And so the tribe made the decision to let the homeowner
build his house here with the stipulations that no other ground
PRINCE: To take them out of that site was very hard. The tribe feels
that whatever we take out of the ground, or in the way that we take it
out of the ground, has to be -- it has to be shown respect. The
methods that you use -- putting everything back in its place the way
it came out of the ground, with the ceremonial fires and whatever the
offerings and the prayers.
BELL: So we believe we did what was right for these people. And now
they are re-interred back at the Mashantucket cemetery where we know
they'll be protected. They have their funerary objects with them.
That's one thing that the tribe also believes in is not keeping the
I think the biggest part that we learned from this is that they
weren't the savages that people thought they were. The technology in
that jewelry that they took with them was just unbelievable and it's
never been seen before. And we think that that's exciting to show what
Native American people were like then. And to make the stuff that they
did with the tools that they must have used, was just -- it's amazing
to the tribe.
MCBRIDE: Those burials that were removed -- my mandate was to study
them, without using any destructive techniques. Study them, learn as
much as I could and rebury them as quickly as possible.
you compare the items from this cemetery with items throughout the
northeast, you'll see that they're identical. Certain effigies, duck
effigies, crescents, waterfowl, turtles, some of the necklaces
themselves are identical to what are found in Iroquoian sites in New
it means is -- and this is a point we've completely missed -- is that
these items and objects continue to be of traditional importance to
the natives and that the Pequots are involved in this regionwide
network of ritual exchange, social exchange, information exchange.
we tell our stories
LAMB RICHMOND: I feel very strong connections to my ancestors. I guess
thatís why I really insist on being here at Schagticoke. I feel
those connections that Iím passing on to my children and to my
grandchildren: How important it is to maintain their Schagticoke
ancestry because we have some very important legacies that we must not
let go, that we must not let die out.
was used -- these sharp points here -- the thorns are off of the
Locust tree. And Schagticoke people -- Iím sure other native people
also -- used these as fishing hooks. And theyíre quite treacherous.
So not only are they protection for the tree, but this is just one way
of using the environment. All the things surrounding us here were used
and are still used in so many ways. For example, I collect any number
of medicines here. I collect sassafras, black root, birch,
jack-in-the-pulpit. And I use these things to heal myself, to heal my
people believe that we are related to all things and where our stories
come from. The story is that stories come from the stone people --
from the boulders. It gives a lot of strength but also an
understanding as to our connection to everything. So not only do we
have respect for trees, for plants, for animals, but for stones, for
boulders. So something like this boulder is very special to me.
is one of the stories of beginnings that was given to me by Joe
Brushac and Princess Red Wing, both Algonquian story tellers, when I
first moved to the east.
world came to be, there lived in the sky country an ancient chief. And
in the center of his land stood a great tree with four white roots
stretching to the four directions. It was from this beautiful tree
that all good things came to be.
it came to pass, the tree was uprooted and the young wife of the chief
fell through the hole that was created. As she fell and tumbled she
reached up clutching, and grabbed a fistful of seeds, which she held
in her hand as she fell.
below, there was only water. And the water creatures looking up saw
someone falling. "Look! Someone is falling! She will need a place
to be!" Great Turtle came up from the bottom of the sea, which
was his home. And as he reached the surface he spoke. "There's
room for her on my back."
will need a place to walk around though," Duck said. "Then
dive, dive to the bottom of the sea and find earth and bring it to put
on my back." And so Duck dove as far as he could but failed.
he came up Loon agreed to try, and dove again, trying harder but
couldn't reach the bottom. And Beaver, he tried and again failed.
there was just little Muskrat who spoke up: "I will try."
And she dove, swimming deeper and deeper until her lungs felt like
they would burst. At last her paw touched the bottom and she grabbed a
speck of earth, which she brought with her to the surface and put on
it around," Turtle said. And they spread it and spread it until
this whole place came to be. Now two great swans lift it up from the
earth and caught the woman as she fell, lowering her gently to the
surface of the earth.
her feet first touched the earth, she dropped the seeds in her hands.
And then the plants began to grow. And from them all life on this new