Last modified: 2012-11-17 by rick wyatt
Keywords: mashantucket pequot | connecticut | native american |
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image by Donald Healy, 14 January 2008
map image by Peter Orenski based on input from Don Healy
Mashantucket Pequot- Connecticut
The Pequot Indians have lived in southern New England for centuries. They frequently fought the neighboring Niantics and Narragansets for control of territory, and in turn received a fitting name. Pequot or Pequod means "Destroyers" (ENAT, 184-185); Herman Melville named Ahab's ship The Pequod in his novel Moby-Dick. The Pequot fought the British in 1630s in the Pequot War, with disastrous consequences. Massacred and enslaved, the few remaining members were freed in 1655 and settled near Mystic, Connecticut, just south of the present-day Foxwoods Reservation of the Mashantucket Pequot.
© Donald Healy 2008
Their flag is white with the round seal in the center. The seal depicts a prominent knoll with a lone black tree silhouetted against a green-blue sky. The knoll and tree represent Mashantucket, the "much-wooded land" where the Pequot once hunted and where they kept their identity alive for hundreds of years. A white fox stands in front of the tree - in their native language, the Pequot are known as "the Fox People". The combination of fox and tree recalls the name of the reservation-Foxwoods. On the black knoll beneath the tree is a glyph - the sign of Robin Cassasinnamon, the Mashantucket Pequot's first leader after the massacre at Mystic Fort in 1637 (The Mashantucket Pequot, pamphlet, n.d.).
Today, with earnings from their Foxwoods casino complex, the Mashantucket Pequot may well be the most commercially successful Indian Nation in the United States. In 1994 the Pequot generously donated US$10 million to the Smithsonian Institution for the planned National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall in Washington, DC. This was the largest contribution ever received for that project ("How a Decimated Tribe Turned to Casino Profits", The Times, Trenton, NJ, 19 March 1995).
© Donald Healy 2008
information provided by Peter Orenski, 14 January 2008