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NATIONAL

COLT: LEGEND & LEGACY

LEFT TO DIE

THE MARK OF UNCAS

SCHEMITZUN!

USS NAUTILUS

CONNECTICUT

AS WE TELL OUR STORIES

BETWEEN BOSTON & NY

CONNECTICUT  & THE SEA

CRUSADERS & CRIMINALS

EAST OF THE RIVER

FROM HERE TO THERE

THE GREEN

THE NEW PEQUOT

SUBURBIA

LIVING ON MOHEGAN HILL

 

NARRATOR: Many descendants of Uncas have continued to live in their hometown of Montville and its village of Uncasville, coexisting for more than 350 years with their non-Indian neighbors.

 

LORETTA ROBERGE: Everything around us, if you notice, in this town is named after Uncas.  We call this the Village of Uncas, Uncasville.  Our school is named after the Mohegans and if you look around and drive through town youíll see all our streets and so forth are named after him.

 

CARLTON EICHELBERG: We didnít have reservations then. And so, therefore, we werenít reservation Indians and we were able to meld with the people because we lived in houses and lived on streets ordinarily just like everybody else.

 

ERNEST GILMAN: Everybody knew who we were. And because of our reputation, particularly living on Mohegan Hill, we were well thought of. I donít ever remember hearing of any derogatory remark about Indians from anyone. That was great.

NARRATOR: One reason for the continued friendly relations between Mohegans and townspeople is the Tantaquidgeon Museum, the countryís oldest Indian-owned-and-operated museum.  Since it was built in 1931, thousands of Montville schoolchildren have come to learn the Mohegan story.

                                                                                                                 

GERTRUDE MINSON (Retired Teacher Uncasville Resident): We met outdoors in a council ring with Chief Harold Tantaquidgeon. Harold and his father, I think, built the museum. When we went out on a field trip, weíd meet out under one of the trees there in the yard and Chief would talk to us and they could ask some questions.

 

Then later weíd go into the museum itself and Miss Gladys Tantaquidgeon. And she had her talking stick. And if the stick was up, we were to be quiet. And she was very good and she told the children many things about the objects in the museum. The boys and girls got an appreciation as to what the Indian life was like way back.

 

NARRATOR: In Norwich, the Leffingwell Inn Museum has been a part of town history since the start of English settlement.

 

ANN CANNON (Leffingwell Inn): It was owned by Thomas Leffingwell in the late 1600s, the time of Uncas. He had a license for a public house, which is what this building was used for originally. Public meetings like town meetings were held here.

 

NARRATOR: In 1996 the owners of the Leffingwell Inn decided to turn a treasured antique into a contemporary symbol of friendship.

 

ANN CANNON: For many years, we displayed in the tavern room Uncasís succotash bowl, which was approximately eight-inches-long oval and it had two carved wolvesí heads on the end. When we gave the bowl to the tribe, it was completing a circle of friendship that had begun with Thomas Leffingwell over 300 years ago.

 

NARRATOR: Montville business owner Johnny London reflects the view of many area residents.

 

JOHNNY LONDON (Owner, Native American Traders, Norwich Resident): He is very much a hero to me -- very much. People will say to me, ďah, yeah, you like Uncas. Well, what do you know about him?Ē And I love to take my wallet out and I have a picture I carry all the time of Uncas. I have it laminated and then after a while they go, ďoh my God, are you ever gonna shut up?Ē

 

He was a great leader for his people and it bears the same fruit today -- the connection with the Mohegans and the community is just as strong. Thatís exactly what he wanted.

 

JAYNE FAWCETT: I think the big lesson that we would derive from Uncasís life is that new situations require new solutions. We tend to have the prejudices and the same ideas that our parents had, and it takes a huge intellectual and cultural leap to think of something in a unique and totally different way.

 

JOE BRUCHAC: You could really say that Uncas set the standard in many ways, both in terms of maintaining native sovereignty, in terms of relationships between white and European, and a relationship that was positive for native people. And also in terms of keeping his word, making a promise and honoring that promise throughout the generations

 

DAVID LEFF: Uncas certainly deserves much honor. He was a great leader. There is much to be learned from his cooperative approach to dealing with problems. I think probably today weíre too confrontational. And I think the lesson, the great lesson, for all of us that Uncas has is that much can be accomplished by cooperation and working together in friendship.

 

A TIME FOR HEALING

 

NARRATOR: In 1999, the state of Connecticut helped to negotiate the return to the Mohegan Tribe of their Royal Burial Grounds, including a former Masonic Temple built over much of the site.

 

ROLAND HARRIS (Tribal Chairman, 1995-2000 Mohegan Tribe): Many agreements were broken in the past. But we were always taught since our youth to never look back, to always look forward, and to understand that these desecrations, whatever, we canít change, but to understand in the future that it doesnít happen any more.

 

So I think heíd be proud of us today, understanding that what he started in the 1600s perpetuates itself today. And as we continue in the future, I think our future generations are just going to understand it even more now that we have the ability and the resources to do that.

 

MONTAGE OF NEWSCLIPS AND IMAGES

RALPH STURGES: We now are officially recognized as Ö

 

NEWSANCHOR: Governor Lowell Weicker has signed an agreement that would allow the Mohegan Indians to build a casino in Montville Ö

 

JAYNE FAWCETT: Thirteen generations have passed since our grandfather Uncas brought us to this coveÖ

NARRATOR: After the return of Mohegan land to sovereign federal trust status, the tribe established in 1996 a highly successful casino resort, The Mohegan Sun.

 

By 2001, the Mohegan Tribe had established business enterprises employing 10,000 people, built a governmental infrastructure to manage increasingly complex needs, sponsored numerous community programs and intensified efforts to revitalize tribal culture. In early 2001, the tribe announced a $10 million gift to the new Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian.

 

JAYNE FAWCETT: Without Uncas, there would probably be no Mohegan people here in Connecticut today. I have to stress survival because thatís the one thing that has come down through my family as such a very, very strong mandate from Uncas: That the most important thing is to survive.

 

So you have to come from a place where just existing long enough for things to become better is the sole goal of the people. And that's, I think, difficult for non-Indians to understand.

 

NARRATOR: In 2000, Mohegan Chief Ralph Sturges carved the mark of Uncas in marble for the Uncas School in Norwich.

 

RALPH STURGES: Iím not only carving to bring the beauty out of his mark and the beauty in the stone. Iím carving to create history that wonít be dissolved for years and years to come. This will always be. It will always be Uncasís mark as long as the stone lasts. And the stoneíll last forever.

 

Thatís why his signature will go down in history. Right? Itíll go down in history because of what weíre doing. He was quite a leader. He was quite a man. Thereís no doubt about that. You know?

 

OVER CREDITS

 

DOUG CHAPMAN: Iím Doug Chapman and Iím proud to be a descendent of Uncas.

 

BRITTANY CARLTON EICHELBERG: Hi, Iím Brittany Eichelberg and Iím glad to be part of Uncasís tribe.

 

DAN ROBERGE: My name is Dan Roberge and I believe Uncas was a very powerful man.

 

BRITTANY JULLARINE-QUINN: Hi, my name is Brittany Jullarine-Quinn and Uncas was a very good chief of the Mohegans.

 

JUSTIN KOBYLUCK: My name is Justin and I have five shirts of Uncas.

 

BROWN: Iíd almost give anything to just sit down with him to have the chance to just talk to him, hear what his voice is like, how tall he is, you know, just everything. And I just really admire him and I think that he was a really noble man for befriending the white people. And he was a great leader.

 

JACOB BOSZUM: Hi, my name is Jacob Boszum and Iím really curious like why he jumped off that cliff. Thatís all I have to say.

 


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Last modified: September 03, 2012