DECLINE OF THE SPIRIT
A small council meeting in July of 1734 in a simple village along the Housatonic River in Massachusetts would affect the course and survival of a nation. The issue under consideration would demand four long days of discussion, reflection, hope, and apprehension. A captain in his early forties and a lieutenant in his late thirties, both weighted with the future prospects for their people, would figure prominently in the council's decision. The path they were considering would take those who followed into a world of people who thought, talked, believed, worked, and even fought differently. Their children might forget the ways of their ancestors and their heritage. But the new path just might save the nation. They must do something, or they might indeed be among the last of the Mohicans.
The captain's name was Konkapot, the lieutenant's was Umpachenee, and they belonged to the Housatonic tribe of Mohicans. Each was principal man in villages that lay eight miles apart on the Housatonic River, among the steep Berkshire Hills of southwestern Massachusetts. And the subject that they must weigh most heavily was whether to accept a Christian mission. It was a time, perhaps, to get a sense of direction, to recount the tribal history, the traditions, and the changes Mohicans had experienced.
The old tribesmen related, in what may be an early Indian confirmation of a Bering Strait crossing, how in ancient times their ancestors had