Mohegan Indian Tribe

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Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut
"The Wolf People"
Motto: "Mundu Wigo"  (Mohegan)
"The Creator is Good"
Capital Uncasville, Connecticut
Official languages English
Mohegan
Government Republic
 -  Tribal Council Chairman Kevin "Red Eagle" Brown
 -  Council of Elders Chairman Robert (Bob) Francis Soper
Legislature Mohegan Government
 -  Upper house Tribal Council
 -  Lower house Council of Elders
Independence
 -  de facto September 21, 1638 
 -  Recognised March 7, 1994 
Area
 -  Total 2.05 km2
0.79 sq mi
Population
 -  2010 estimate 1920
Currency United States dollar ([[ISO 4217|USD]])
Time zone EST

The Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut is a federally recognized tribe and sovereign tribal nation of Mohegan people (pronounced /ˈmhɡæn/). Their reservation is the Mohegan Indian Reservation, located on the Thames River in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Mohegan's independence as a sovereign nation has been documented by treaties and laws for over 350 years, such as the Treaty of Hartford secured by their Sachem (Chief) Uncas after his cooperation and victory with the English in the Pequot War (1637-1638). Although the Treaty of Hartford established English recognition of the tribe's sovereignty in 1638, after the colonial period and loss of lands, the tribe struggled to maintain recognition of its identity. It gained recognition by the Federal government of the United States in 1994.

The same year the US Congress passed the Mohegan Nation (Connecticut) Land Claim Settlement Act.[1] The US authorized the cleaned-up United Nuclear site for use as Mohegan reservation lands, and the property was transferred to the United States in trust for the tribe.[1]

This enabled the Mohegan to establish gaming operations on their reservation to generate revenue for welfare and economic development. They opened the Mohegan Sun casino on October 12, 1996, near the former Fort Shantok site above the Thames River. It has since been expanded into a large resort with a hotel, conference and numerous retail facilities, the largest casino in the world.

Mohegan Tribe's vision[edit]

In 1997 the Mohegan Tribe's Council of Elders adopted the following Vision Statement:

We are the Wolf People, children of Mundo, a part of the Tree of Life. Our ancestors
form our roots, our living Tribe is the trunk, our grandchildren are the buds of our future.
We remember and teach the stories of our ancestors.
We watch. We listen. We learn.
We respect Mother Earth, our Elders, and all that comes from Mundo.
We are willing to break arrows of peace to heal old and new wounds. We acknowledge and learn
from our mistakes.
We walk as a single spirit on the Trail of Life. We are guided by thirteen generations
past and responsible to thirteen generations to come.
We survive as a nation guided by the wisdom of our past. Our circular trail returns
us to wholeness as a people.
Ni Ya Yo.[2]

History[edit]

Before the seventeenth century, the Mohegan were part of the Pequot Tribe, which emerged among Algonquian peoples located in south central present New England.

Uncas[edit]

The early 1600s were a critical period of change for Connecticut tribes, who spoke various Algonquian languages. The pressure from rapidly expanding European settlements created competition for land and resources, while new infectious diseases were decimating Indian populations at an alarming rate. Within the Pequot Tribe at that time, a dispute erupted between the Pequot Sachem (head chief) Sassacus and the leader Uncas.

Uncas left with his followers, who called themselves the Mohegan, or Wolf People, like their ancestors. Each tribe had its own idea of how to deal with European conflicts. Uncas (1598-1683) became Sachem of the Mohegan Tribe, which favored collaboration with the English colonists. The Pequot under Sassacus chose to fight the colonists, and other local tribes took sides in a war that lasted from 1637-1638.

Seeing the great losses brought on by continued fighting, Uncas had befriended the European invaders. This controversial decision brought Uncas and the Mohegan people into an uneasy alliance with the English in the ensuing war with the Pequots (1637-1638). The Mohegan helped the English defeat the Pequot.

Uncas settled his people in a village at Shantok on the Thames River, which the Tribe defended from a Narragansett invasion. It was sparked by related European as well as Indian conflicts. Finally, the Mohegan Tribe's alliance with the English kept its people relatively safe during King Philip's War and afterward.

Government[edit]

The Mohegan Tribe had used its sovereignty to create and maintain an independent governmental structure since before Europeans arrived in America. The Mohegan Government has evolved to exercise full civil and criminal jurisdiction over their lands using the Constitution of the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut, which they wrote in the 20th century.

The Mohegan Nation is governed by the Mohegan people. They elect a Tribal Council of nine Tribal Members and a Council of Elders, composed of seven Tribal Members. All legislative and executive powers of the Tribe not granted to the Council of Elders are vested with the Tribal Council.

The Council of Elders oversees judicial matters and the tribe's cultural integrity. The Council of Elders also exercises legislative powers with respect to rules governing tribal membership and enrollment. The Tribal Court adjudicates on all non-gaming matters.

The Mohegan Nation used its cooperative relationship with the State of Connecticut to begin negotiating a gaming compact following the passage of the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. After gaining federal recognition in 1994 and receiving land in settlement under the Mohegan Nation (Connecticut) Land Claim Settlement Act (1994).[1] The US took into trust the cleaned-up United Nuclear site for use by the Mohegan as a reservation.[1]

The Tribe opened the Mohegan Sun casino in 1996, two years after gaining federal recognition. The compact created between Connecticut and the Mohegan Tribe secured 25 percent of slot revenues to the state to help fund services. It became a model agreement and Connecticut's Native American tribes have become the largest source of revenue for the state aside from the federal government. The government-to-government relationships that have developed between Connecticut and Mohegan have produced quick resolutions to issues that have been raised, such as: indoor smoking, alcohol service, and state police presence at the reservation.[citation needed]

Community contributions[edit]

The Mohegan Tribe used its own funds to pay for the $35 million access road that enables visitors to reach Mohegan Sun without tying up Montville roads. The tribe has worked closely with its neighbors and provided the funding for an $11 million regional water project to ensure safe, clean drinking water.[citation needed]

The tribe has been a strong advocate in the effort to ensure that Connecticut’s communities get a greater share of slots revenues. It proposed a successful initiative to modify the funding formula so that communities most affected by the casinos receive additional funds from the Pequot-Mohegan Fund.

In addition, the Mohegan Tribe pays $500,000 each year to the town of Montville in lieu of taxes. The Mohegan Tribe is a partner in the Community Economic Development Fund. The revolving loan program will help regional small businesses create jobs. The tribe is the first and only non-bank investor in such a program in Connecticut.

Economy[edit]

The Mohegan Tribe has used gaming to generate revenue for economic development of the Tribe, its members, and the surrounding communities. Mohegan Sun employs about 10,000 individuals internally, while buying supplies and services from hundreds of small and medium-sized vendors and local companies that also employ thousands of individuals. Employees of the Tribes and Casinos pay all federal and state income taxes as well as other employment taxes, providing tens of millions of dollars to the state and federal governments.

As mandated by federal law and the Mohegan Tribe’s Constitution and laws, profits from Native American gaming go to support the health, education, welfare, and infrastructure of tribal governments. Although tribes are entitled to certain federal grants, by 1997 the Mohegan Tribe was in a position to return or reject funds. That year, it turned back $2.2 million in grant funds to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to be redistributed to other Native American nations.

Since its opening in October 1996, the Mohegan Sun has generated substantial revenues for Connecticut’s economy:

  • Approximately $2.5 billion in slot revenue contributions to the State of Connecticut
  • Over $4 billion is salaries, wages and benefits for employees
  • Over $6 billion in goods and services
  • Over $200 million in state taxes
  • Over $65 million in state services
  • Over $18 million in charitable donations

Notable Mohegan[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Mohegan Nation (Connecticut) Land Claim Settlement Act, Pub. L. No. 103-377, § 2, 108 Stat. 3501 (1994) (codified at 25 U.S.C. § 1775 (2006))
  2. ^ "Our Vision." The Mohegan Tribe. Retrieved 6 Dec 2011.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°29′24″N 72°05′17″W / 41.49000°N 72.08806°W / 41.49000; -72.08806