Uncas’s open rebellion against Sassacus caused him to finally be banished
from the Pequot tribe. And so it was that Uncas traveled with his followers
in 1636 across the Thames River to settle on the ancestral land of his
DELORIA (Director, American Indian Law Center, Standing Rock Sioux):
In strictly non-Indian historical terms not too many tribes can have a
founder’s day. This is our founder. Why not? You know exactly who it
is and you can practically pinpoint the date when the tribe was
founded in the sense that we look at it as a tribe. And because they
can trace genealogies, they know who’s descended from him and all of
that, it makes it much more difficult for the tribe to mythologize
him; he becomes a very distinct historical figure for them and he has
to remain that because there’s too much of a tribal memory.
In 1637, Uncas joined forces with the English in a plan to attack the
dominant Pequot Tribe. The English/Mohegan alliance created
friction with other local tribes with whom Uncas was connected by
SEKATAU: The colonists’ goal was to divide and to conquer. They did
it through rumor; they did it through gossip.
BROWN (Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Narragansett Tribe): The
Indian people were just played. We did not understand the nature of
the beast that we were dealing with. They had created the device that
they wanted in that triad of power between the Mohegan, the
Narragansett and the Pequot and it worked.
Pequot War was nothing more than feuding factions of the
Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut colonies opting and vying
for power and attempting to use the Indians as their pawns.
The English colonists declared war on the Pequot in 1637. Plans were
made for an attack on the main Pequot village fort in Mystic under the
command of Captain John Mason. He led about 90 colonists, joined
by several hundred Narragansett Indians and about 100 Mohegan and
Connecticut River Indians under Uncas. The attack took place on
May 26, 1637.
BRUCHAC: During the days before that event a number of the Indian
allies were deserting. However, Uncas had no doubts. In fact, his
exact words are worth quoting. He said, “Though all the
Narragansetts leave, and I am certain most of them will, the Mohegans
will remain faithful to the end.”
the battle began in the fort at Mystic there were more Pequots than
there were English. And the English discovered that if they set fire
to the buildings that they would even the odds
couple of things began to occur. One is that fire spread very rapidly
and the people would not come out of the fort because they would be
shot down. Because of the fire their bowstrings caught fire, they
could no longer use bows and arrows. They had no distance weapons and,
therefore, they had to fight with ax and knife, hand-to-hand, a very
unequal combat. And I can imagine as that battle was going on, as
Pequot men were running out with their clothes on fire attacking the
English hand to hand I wonder what was going through Uncas’s mind.
Because I think Uncas felt, well, this would be a typical battle on a
fortification, the English will overcome them, they will surrender and
maybe I’ll be able to take these people into my group. But instead
everyone, 400 to 700 people were wiped out.
cannot help but think that Uncas was horrified when he saw what
happened, when he saw the tremendous violence that was unleashed by
the English on the Pequot people and yet he does not turn against the
English because he knows there’s nothing else he can do right now.
It has begun. He has to follow it through to the end.