The following installment of The Tribes In The Media is an editorial in The Day newspaper on Lynn's appointment to Chief. Its an interesting editorial but we mention it here to clarify an issue that could be misleading to tribal members.
The Day fails to mention that what was largely left out of the Tribe's petition for federal recognition were the activities of John Hamilton. After the petition was denied, the Hamilton files were sent as a response to the federal government's denial and the Tribe ultimately ended up getting federally recognition.
To be clear, many people and their papers contributed to federal recognition and the Hamilton files were just one piece but it turned out to be the final piece we needed for recognition.
Editorial: Hail Mohegan chief
March 7, 2010
Women have always played an important role in the Mohegan Tribe. So news last week that Lynn Malerba will be inducted as the Mohegan's new chief for life later this year really shouldn't have come as such a surprise.
But it did. Perhaps because until recently, contributions of the tribe's women, while monumental, have been relatively low profile.
It is the Mohegan ladies who produced the necessary documentation - birth announcements, wedding reception lists, church register and obituaries - that led to federal recognition in 1994. The tribe saw its original application denied when federal researchers couldn't document the Mohegan's social and political activities in the 1940s and 50s.
It turns out, the researchers had focused their efforts on the tribe's male leaders, while it was the women who held proof that Mohegans had been a cohesive unit for centuries.
At last Thursday's news conference at the Mohegan Church announcing the tribe's intention to name Ms. Malerba its new chief, she remarked on "the strong and active role" of Mohegan women over the years.
"The ladies sewing circle held in this very church," she said, "was really code for let's boss the men around."
The 56-year-old Malerba will step aside from her role as chairwoman of the Mohegan Tribal Council in August to become the public face of the tribe. She is only the second female chief -the last and only other woman was Anne Uncas who was the interim sachem for a short time in 1723 - and replaces the much loved and respected Ralph Sturges, who led the tribe from 1992 until his death in 2007.
Ms. Malerba follows an impressive legacy, from those of the sachem Uncas, who led the tribe after its split from the Pequots in 1635, to Mr. Sturges, who's genial ways contributed to the tribe's reputation as a good neighbor. We wish the new chief and the Mohegan Tribe well.
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