The Mohicans of Stockbridge

By Patrick Frazier | Go to book overview

19
RELOCATING THE COUNCIL FIRE

A psychological blow hit the Stockbridge Indians about the time that the mortal blows smashed the heads of their brethren in Ohio. The Stockbridges thought that surely now, after demonstrating their loyalty to their neighbors and countrymen, they would receive justice regarding their land claims. On February 8, 1782, they addressed a letter to the New York General Assembly. Using the familiar tone of former addresses, it was at once a plea and a lament, but voiced by a new generation of tribal leaders, the sons of King Ben, Johannis Mtohksin, Jacob Naunauphtaunk, and Solomon Uhhaunauwaunmut. Yet the narrative assumed that the Stockbridges and the Americans were each a single undying entity, whose lives spanned the nearly two centuries of contact. With their oral tradition, the Stockbridge Indians had a better memory and feel for history than did many of their newly independent American brothers.

Brothers, wise Men! attend. When you first came over the great water to this our Island, you was small, I was great. I then had a fullness of food and cloathing. I then was happy and contented. The sands and waters of this River, which you now possess were mine, that is those on the east side of it. Here I got my food and cloathing. You being then smaller I invited you to set down with me, and provide for yourself, your women and children. This you did. We were then happy in each other, your enemies were my enemies, your friends were my friends. Where

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