Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel

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Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel
Melissa Jayne Fawcett

(1960-03-24) March 24, 1960 (age 63)
Mohegan[citation needed]
Alma materGeorgetown University
University of Connecticut
Fairfield University
Occupation(s)Author, storyteller, historian
SpouseRandy Zobel
RelativesGladys Tantaquidgeon
WebsiteOfficial website

Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel (born Melissa Jayne Fawcett; March 24, 1960) is a Mohegan author, historian, and storyteller who serves as both the Medicine Woman and Tribal Historian for the Mohegan Tribe.[1] In addition, she is executive director of the tribe's cultural and community programs department.[2] Also a prolific writer, Zobel has published many books including the historical biography, Medicine Trail: The Life and Lessons of Gladys Tantaquidgeon, and the futuristic novel Oracles. Some publications appear under her maiden name of Melissa Jayne Fawcett.[3]


Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel was born Melissa Jayne Fawcett, the daughter of Dr. Richard Fawcett and Nonner Jayne Fawcett (a Mohegan). She and her husband, Randy Zobel, live in Mystic, Connecticut and have three adult children: She has three children: Madeline, Rachel, and David.[citation needed]


Tantaquidgeon Zobel served as high school president of The Williams School in New London, Connecticut. After receiving her B.S.F.S. in History and Diplomacy from Georgetown University, where she was both a member of the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society and recipient of the Lorenze Tsosie Native American Scholarship. Zobel earned an M.A. in history from the University of Connecticut—the school from which both her mother and great-aunt, Dr. Gladys Tantaquidgeon, received degrees.[4][5][6][7]

Both are prominent Mohegan figures.[5] Jayne Fawcett grew up on the home site of Reverend Samson Occom, one of the first Christian American Indian ministers.[5] Gladys Tantaquidgeon founded what is now the oldest Indian-run museum in the United States, the Tantaquidgeon Indian Museum,[8] in 1931.[9] Dr. Tantaquidgeon also trained the young Zobel in tribal oral traditions, beliefs and sacred practices.[4] Following her death on November 1, 2005, Dr. Gladys Tantaquidgeon's life and accomplishments were acknowledged in a New York Times article.[10]

In 2012, Tantaquidgeon Zobel earned the degree of M.F.A. from Fairfield University.[11]


Zobel has served as the storyteller of the Mohegan Tribe and traveled all throughout New England.[4] She has held a number of prestigious tribal positions and elected posts, including the Mohegan Federal Recognition Coordinator from 1992 to 1994 and the first Native American Gubernatorial Appointee to the Connecticut Historical Commission in 1994.[7] As an author, her first recognized work came in 1992, when she was awarded the first annual Non-Fiction Award of the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas. This accolade was presented for her manuscript, The Lasting of the Mohegans. Zobel later became the first American Indian appointed by Governor Lowell P. Weicker Jr. to the Connecticut Historical Commission.[4]

In 1996, Zobel also received the first annual Chief Little Hatchet Award, given in recognition of her efforts in fostering the survival of the Mohegan people.[4] Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel lives in Connecticut with her husband and three children. She won a $10,000 essay contest in 2009 for an essay in which she shared her perspectives on the difficulties and opportunities of the current economic and political landscape.[12][13] She also won a top national award for The Accomac Business Model.[12] The contest, called "Native Insight: Thoughts on Recession, Recovery & Opportunity," was sponsored by the Alaska Federation of Natives, in partnership with the National Congress of American Indians and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement.[12]


  • Wabanaki Blues. Poisoned Pencil, 2015. ISBN 978-1929345120
  • Fire Hollow. Raven's Wing Books, 2010. ISBN 0980100453 [14]
  • Makiawisug: The Gift of the Little People. Little People Pubns, 1997; ISBN 0965693325 [15]
  • Medicine Trail: The Life and Lessons of Gladys Tantaquidgeon. University of Arizona Press, 2000. ISBN 0816520690 [16]
  • Oracles: A Novel. University of New Mexico Press, 2004; ISBN 0826331912 [17]
  • The Road to Elsewhere. Scribes Valley Publishing; First edition, 2009; ISBN 0974265276 [18]
  • The Lasting of the Mohegans: Part I, The Story of the Wolf People. The Mohegan Tribe, 1995; ASIN B0006QGXTK[19]


  1. ^ "Raven's Wing Book's Authors". Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel. Raven's Wing Books. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  2. ^ Jacobson, Erica. "Norwich Bulletin". Tantaquidgeon relative named Mohegan tribal medicine woman. Norwich Bulletin. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  3. ^ Zobel, Melissa. "Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel". Native American Author. Melissa Zobel. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e "The Official Website of the Mohegan Tribe". Government. The Mohegan Tribe. Retrieved April 5, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c "Great Tribal Leaders of Modern Times: Jayne Fawcett". Indigenous Governance Database. The University of Arizona. Archived from the original on July 4, 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  6. ^ "Heritage". Gladys Tantaquidgeon. The Mohegan Tribe. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel". Academia. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  8. ^ "Tantaquidgeon Indian Museum". Visit CT. Connecticut Office of Tourism. 20 May 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  9. ^ Sayet, Rachel. "From the Mohegan Tribal Museum to Harvard to NMAI: An Intern's Journey (So Far)". The National Museum of the American Indian. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  10. ^ "Gladys Tantaquidgeon, Mohegans' Medicine Woman, Is Dead at 106". The New York Times. 2 November 2005. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  11. ^ "MFA in Creative Writing: A Sample of Publications by Our Alumni". Fairfield University. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  12. ^ a b c Toensing, Gale Courey. "Mohegan Medicine Woman Wins $10,000 Essay Contest". Indian Country. Today Media Network. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  13. ^ Zobel, Melissa. "The Accomac Business Model". Alaska Dispatch. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  14. ^ Fire Hollow. Raven's Wing Books. October 2009. ISBN 978-0980100457.
  15. ^ Makiawisug: The Gift of the Little People. Little People Pubns. 1997. ISBN 0965693325.
  16. ^ Medicine Trail: The Life and Lessons of Gladys Tantaquidgeon. University of Arizona Press. 2000. ISBN 9780816520695. Retrieved April 6, 2013 – via Internet Archive. medicine trail.
  17. ^ Oracles. University of New Mexico Press. 2004. ISBN 9780826331915. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  18. ^ The Road to Elsewhere. Scribes Valley Publishing. 2009. ISBN 9780974265278. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  19. ^ The Lasting of the Mohegans: Part I, The Story of the Wolf People. The Mohegan Tribe. January 1995. Retrieved April 6, 2013.