On a small reservation in Shawano County, Wisconsin, live several hundred descendants of people immortalized by James Fenimore Cooper. While Cooper was a boy growing up in New York, these people lived about fifty miles from him. Before that, their ancestors had concentrated along the Housatonic River in western Massachusetts in a small village called Stockbridge. It was this village that gave them the name by which they are officially known today, the Stockbridge Indians. That name, and the effort to subsume them into colonial culture, virtually obliterated from American consciousness the fact that they were--and their descendants today are--Mohicans. The mythic characters created by James Fenimore Cooper probably helped sustain the impression that, like the Knights of the Round Table, Mohicans were legendary figures of a misty romantic past, who may never have existed.
My hope for this book is that it will bring public awareness to the existence of these people and their contribution to a significant segment of American history. The story is not one of noble savages or strong, silent men of nature with infallible instincts, loyally guiding frontiersmen through the dangers of wild America. But it is the story of genuine nobility of spirit, quiet strength, and loyalty almost beyond belief, demonstrated by a people who were physically, emotionally, and economically close to tragedy much of their lives. This story is, then, the