Fidelia Fielding

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Fidelia Hoscott Fielding
Native name Dji'ts Bud dnaca ("Flying Bird")
Born 1827
Died 1908
Resting place
Fort Shantok State Park, Montville, Connecticut
Residence One of the last local residents in a traditional wigwam
Ethnicity Mohegan[1]
Known for Last speaker of Mohegan-Pequot language
Home town Uncasville, Connecticut
Spouse(s) William Fielding
Relatives Stephanie Fielding

Fidelia Hoscott Fielding (1827–1908) (Mohegan), also known as Dji'ts Bud dnaca ("Flying Bird"), was the last native speaker of the Mohegan-Pequot language. Credited with being instrumental in teaching and preserving the language, she was posthumously inducted into the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame.

Language work[edit]

Fidelia learned the language from her maternal grandmother Martha Uncas and spoke it with her. As an adult, Fielding kept four diaries in the language, which have been vital to reconstructing Mohegan Pequot and related Algonquian languages.

She was a nanu (respected elder woman) and mentor to Gladys Tantaquidgeon, a Mohegan who became an anthropologist and worked in language and cultural preservation.[1]

Frank Speck, as an anthropology student at Columbia University, came to Uncasville seeking Fielding. The experience of living with her encouraged Speck's studies of Native American languages and cultures. He based his study of the language on her testimony. After her death, Speck's translations of her diaries were preserved in New York City's National Museum of the American Indian archives.[2]

Personal[edit]

Fidelia Hoscott married William Fielding. She was independent and continued to live in the traditional Mohegan lifestyle, being one of the last in her area to live in a traditional Mohegan wigwam.[3][2]

Legacy and honors[edit]

Fielding is one of three American Indians who have been inducted into the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame. She was inducted in 1994 under the category Education & Preservation.[2] Gladys Tantaquidgeon was also inducted in the Hall.[3]

She was buried at the Ancient Burial Grounds of the Mohegans at Fort Shantok State Park in Montville, Connecticut, with an estimated 1,000 people in attendance on May 24, 1936.[2]

Linguists from the Mohegan Language Project, including her relative Stephanie Fielding, have begun working with materials compiled and archived by Fielding and Speck in order to reconstruct and revive the Mohegan-Pequot language for new generations.[2]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Fawcett, Melissa Jayne. Medicine Trail: The Life and Lessons of Gladys Tantaquidgeon
  2. ^ a b c d e "Fidelia Hoscott Fielding". Inductees. Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Fidelia Fielding, 1827-1908", The Mohegan Tribe, 2004 (retrieved 13 July 2010)