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Stereotype of the Month Entry

Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

The Vegas Guy: Mohegan Sun
By Joe Bob Briggs
From the Life & Mind Desk
Published 2/5/2003 1:17 PM

In the ongoing battle between Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun to see who can control New England gambling, I'm rooting a little bit more for the Mohegans. For one thing, the Mashantucket Pequots, owners of Foxwoods, are not real Indians. The tribe had died out by the time it got federal recognition in the 1980s, and membership was parceled out to the friends and relatives of two old women who happened to be living on the reservation in the 1970s. A few of them claim Pequot blood although there's evidence that the tribe had long since ceased to exist but most of them don't even keep up that pretense.

The Mohegans, by contrast, are the real deal. Of course, the tribe had no money prior to federal recognition in the 1990s and the advent of gambling, but it had always maintained a tribal museum, held regular elections, and tried to maintain as many of the old traditions as possible. The last Mohegan speaker died in 1908, so there was no real tribal village, but the blood lines were more or less pure.

A correspondent replies
And I reply to the correspondent:

>> Like the article point out there was one last woman living on the reservation when she convinced her grandson to move there to keep the government from taking it after she died. <<

That people were living off the reservation doesn't prove they weren't Pequots. Some 60% of Indians live off-reservation, according to the latest Census. There are several reservations with only a few acres where most tribal members don't live.

>> Their blood quntum is listed at 1/16th to be a member. <<

Some tribes figure membership by lineal descent. I'm sure there are several where 1/16th blood quantum is enough to be a member.

The key is that tribal membership is a political decision, not a racial one. A tribe can admit whomever it wants, basically.

>> If anything they should be classified as Metis people and nothing more. <<

I don't think anyone has claimed the Pequots were pure-blooded. Or that they're much different from Canada's Metis people. But whatever they are, they proved their tribal affiliation per the BIA's recognition rules. That's what matters.

For a similar claim plus lots of rebuttals, see Sioux Red Shirt Says Eastern Indians Aren't Real Indians.

Related links
Greedy Indians
The facts about Indian gaming
The essential facts about Indians today

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