Town, Gown, and Native land

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The Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians livedinwhatisnowknownas Berkshire County prior to the tribe’s forced relocation west.

On its website, the tribe has documented its history in a project titled “Many Trails.” The website reads, “The Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians were pushed from the Eastern seaboard across half a continent, forced to uproot and move many times to our present Land in Wisconsin. ‘Many Trails’ is an original design, symbolizing ENDURANCE, STRENGTH AND HOPE. From a long suffering Proud and Determined People.”

Today, 1500 Mohican and Munsee people are members of the Stockbridge-Munsee community, a federally recognized tribe that has been relocated to a reservation in the towns of Bartelme and Red Springs, Wisconsin.

Tribal Preservation Officer Bonney Hartley told The Berkshire Eagle in May, “There’s so much interest from our community in continuing to reengage in our homelands and more and more from residents here, but to try and make that connection is often really hard.”

Some members of the College have begun participating in these efforts, while they acknowledge that more must be done. Head of Special Collections Lisa Conathan worked with Hartley in 2017 for Conathan’s exhibition “Take due notice of us for the future: Native Americans and Williams College,” a project that grew out of discussions over the Log mural and documented “Native presence (and absence) in the campus community today.”