Last modified: 2012-11-17 by rick wyatt
Keywords: mohegan | connecticut | native american |
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image by Donald Healy, 17 January 2008
map image by Peter Orenski based on input from Don Healy
Mohegan - Connecticut
One of the latest Tribes to achieve federal recognition, the Mohegan Nation (improperly pronounced Mohican) spans many centuries of interaction with the white man. Mohegan means "wolf people". The Tribe is most famous for its fictional extinction at the hand of James Fenimore Cooper in The Last of the Mohicans (ENAT, 142-143). The Tribe did not die out. In fact, it continued to thrive in Lower New England long after Cooper's romantic novelization. Now, with the opening of a casino, it has adopted a new flag.
© Donald Healy 2008
The Mohegan flag is white with a royal blue border around the outer edge. In the center is the new tribal seal with "THE MOHEGAN TRIBE" arching over the seal and "MUNDU WIGO" below, all in black. Mundu Wigo, a favorite expression of Ms. Fidelia Fielding, one of the last fluent speakers of the Mohegan tongue, means "The Creator is good" (What Our Symbol Means, unattributed clipping). The seal is a black circle ringed in red. Within it is a complex figure based upon an ancient Mohegan motif. A red dot in the center is circled by thirteen smaller white dots. These are enclosed in a white narrow border forming a square. Attached to each side of the square is a royal blue semicircle edged in white. From each corner of the square a diagonal white line aims outward, its end separating into two curves.
The four semicircular domes point to each of the four sacred directions, represent the back of "Grandfather Turtle upon whom the earth was formed", and recall the shape of the old wigwam dwellings of the Mohegan people. The four diagonal lines are four sacred trees and represent a "branching out towards future generations" (ibid..). The thirteen white dots recall the thirteen moons in a lunar year, the thirteen sections on a turtle's back, and thirteen generations since Uncas, the great leader of the Mohegans (ibid..). The central red dot is the "Sacred Center Circle" of the spiritual life force felt throughout the universe.
A previous, interim flag was adopted in 1994 before the casino was built (Letter, Shirley M. Walsh, Tribal Office Manager, 4 Nov. 1994). It was blue, with the seal of the Mohegan Nation in the center - a blue disk, bearing a white wolf. Behind the wolf, in purple outline, were mountains, while the paws of the wolf rested on tufts of green grass. Circling this disk was a red band bearing in black "MOHEGAN TRIBE" at the top and "THE WOLF PEOPLE" at the bottom.
[Thanks to the Mohegan Tribal HQ, Uncasville, CT for information on the flag and seal.]
© Donald Healy 2008
information provided by Peter Orenski, 17 January 2008