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Inter-tribal unity...for real this time?

Unity between Pequots, & Mohegans has not been easy, because historically we were as much bitter rivals as we were neighbors. Can true friendship happen?

 

When I worked in public relations at Foxwoods, some of the most common questions I received from news reporters were about the Pequot’s relationship with the Mohegan tribe, as well as any other New England tribe who might one day build a casino of their own.

“Are you guys worried about future competition?”

“What if that tribe expands their business across the river?”

 “What if those tribes build resorts near Boston?”

I usually replied in a way that let people know we not only embrace other tribes, we also wished them well in their endeavors.   There’s a very good reason for that.

When Foxwoods opened to the public, our tribal council recognized our success was not simply “all about us”.  Our newfound fortune represented something radically unique and unusual – an opportunity for tribes across the country to create sustainable economic development for their own people. If it worked for us, perhaps it might work for them.

The Mashantucket Pequots had a legal monopoly in the early nineties.  We did not have to re-open our gaming compact with the state of Connecticut to allow another tribe to build another resort.  We chose to do it, and the rest is history.  Now, with more than 240 tribes operating 460 casinos in 28 states, Indian gaming has mushroomed into a $27 billion dollar industry in only 20 years, and it all began right here at Mashantucket.

So when I read a national news article about our tribal council chairman and the Mohegan tribe’s chairman coming together to build lasting relationships and inter-tribal unity, and share resources to address common issues, I was encouraged!   After all, building unity between our tribes has not been easy, because historically, the Pequots, Mohegans and Narragansetts were often as much bitter rivals as they were brotherly neighbors.

Each spring, our tribe commemorates the Pequots’ survival of one of the very first genocidal massacres against an Indian tribe within what we now know as the continental United States.   Nearly 400 years ago, the Mohegans and Narragansetts joined forces with the English against the Pequots and murdered approximately 400 Pequot women, children and elders in less than one hour.  So are we finally over it?  Have we really set aside our respective grudges so we can focus our energies on forgiveness, friendship, and unity?

As more and more cultural and recreational tribal unity events are planned to bring local tribes together, there appears to be a growing conscious effort to get to know one another and build positive relationships.    But let’s face it…if our tribes are serious about building relationships and if these unity efforts are authentic, the resulting effects really ought to permeate our communities as well as our resort enterprises.

It’s my hope that by encouraging authentic inter-tribal unity, we might squelch the potential for any hypocritical actions of non-tribal executives and business consultants who may scramble and scheme behind closed doors, squandering each tribe’s resources in self-serving attempts to one-up and out bid each other in marketing sponsorships, advertising and brand placement efforts.  Granted, that kind of activity would represent a worst-case scenario…but I’m just saying.

I want to know what you think.  Are inter-tribal unity events working to foster real unity among tribes?  Have we really let bygones be bygones and buried the hatchet from offenses that happened hundreds of years ago?  Are there ways we can do better, and if so, how?

Check out www.loripotter.com for more memoirs and musings about what it's like to be a Mashantucket Pequot.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

van thomas green March 30, 2013 at 09:45 PM
Does Sam shuntaup ring a bell for you,my grandmother spoke of him,wen I was younger,in the 50's..in NB...I'm sue it was windsor street in Hartford,..there street off off of windsor called pequot street.....they name that street,after our realtives,and this was in the 50's nd 60's...sam was a pequot/mohegan...by way of benny Unas. Benny Uncas had few sqaws....uhard..?
van thomas green March 30, 2013 at 10:50 PM
lor can you get on facebook messenge?
van thomas green March 31, 2013 at 01:08 AM
Connecticut legislature unanimously passed legislation to petition the federal government to grant tribal Recognition to the Mashantucket Pequots and settle the claim. The tribe filed suit in 1976 against neighboring landowner's to recover land that had been sold by the State of connrcticut in 1856.
van thomas green March 31, 2013 at 01:25 AM
In 1999 my lawer filed with the United states Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian affairs washington D.C. 20240 in reply Refer to tribal services-AR Ms4660 MIB. The Honorable john G. Rowland Governor of Connecticut 210 Capital Avenue ,Hartford Connecticut 06106. Dear Governor Rowland: pursuant to part 83.(9a) of the Code of federal Regulations (25 CFR 83.9(a), procedures for Establishing that an Indian group Exist as an Indian tribe, you are hereby notified that a letter of intent to petition for acknowledgment has been filed with the Assistant secretary-Indian affairs, Deprtment of interior, BIA by the .
van thomas green March 31, 2013 at 01:26 AM
Peqout /mohegan tribe inc ,387 High street ,suite 3-b# Middle town ct,06457

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