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
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.
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.
In Norwich, the Leffingwell Inn Museum has been a part of town history
since the start of English settlement.
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
In 1996 the owners of the Leffingwell Inn decided to turn a treasured
antique into a contemporary symbol of friendship.
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.
Montville business owner Johnny London reflects the view of many area
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
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.
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.
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
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
TIME FOR HEALING
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.
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.
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.
OF NEWSCLIPS AND IMAGES
STURGES: We now are officially recognized as Ö
Governor Lowell Weicker has signed an agreement that would allow the
Mohegan Indians to build a casino in Montville Ö
FAWCETT: Thirteen generations have passed since our grandfather
Uncas brought us to this coveÖ
After the return of Mohegan land to sovereign federal trust status,
the tribe established in 1996 a highly successful casino resort, The
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.
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
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.
In 2000, Mohegan Chief Ralph Sturges carved the mark of Uncas in
marble for the Uncas School in Norwich.
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.
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?
CHAPMAN: Iím Doug Chapman and Iím proud to be a descendent of
CARLTON EICHELBERG: Hi, Iím Brittany Eichelberg and Iím glad to be
part of Uncasís tribe.
ROBERGE: My name is Dan Roberge and I believe Uncas was a very
JULLARINE-QUINN: Hi, my name is Brittany Jullarine-Quinn and Uncas was
a very good chief of the Mohegans.
KOBYLUCK: My name is Justin and I have five shirts of Uncas.
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.
BOSZUM: Hi, my name is Jacob Boszum and Iím really curious like why
he jumped off that cliff. Thatís all I have to say.