Sunday, November 16, 2008

Stockbridge-Munsee Cultural Adaptations

Around the same time that Ted Brasser was doing his Mohican research, another anthropologist, Marion Mochon, also conducted field research among the Stockbridge Mohicans. His work was published in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, (vol 112, no.3, June, 1968) under the title "Stockbridge-Munsee Cultural Adaptations: "Assimilated Indians." Mochon's work is not available over the internet, but - with possible exceptions, including - I hope - this blog, it is more accurate than what you'll find about Stockbridge Mohican history on the web. By only being available in an academic journal, Mochon's work appears to have been neglected by most people who study Algonkian history as a hobby.

I think the real weakness - if it can be called that - of Mochon's paper is that it ends in the 1960's. On the one hand, I believe he was correct to observe that the tribe was "so highly acculturated as to approximate the conditions of assimilation"(p.182). But on the other hand, things have changed. Where there was shame in being Indian, there is now pride. A nationwide "Native pride" movement began just a few years after Mochon's research was published. And so the acculturation process was reversed. Members of the Stockbridge-Munsee Community have often visited other Algonkian tribes (or nations) to learn how to be "more Indian."

I'm getting off the track, I picked up Mochon's work this morning because I remember that somewhere he described the Stockbridge-Munsee as an "amalgamated" community of Christian Algonquin people. So there is agreement with Brasser and others that the people who understandably like to call themselves "Mohicans" have a genealogical background that consists of a number of (or perhaps many) Algonkian-speaking tribes.

Mochon also observed that the Stockbridge-Munsee were a community held together both by ties of kinship and ideology, with Christianity being part of that ideology (as was care for the natural environment and sharing of material wealth within the community).

2 comments :

Myron said...

The Grandfathers of the Mohicans were Lenape.

The word "Linape" was used in America 880 years ago. Maalan Aarum 2.14 (Engraved years, a.k.a, Walam Olum.)

When the Lenape walked away from Greenland in 1350 the Lenape language divided.

To the east it evolved into Old Norse preserved by isolated Iceland..

To the west it sub=divided into many dialects.

The French in 17th century named a Lenape dialect, "Algonquin."

Reider T. Sherwin wrote in 1946 that:
The Algonquin Indian Language is Old Norse"

Sherwin has over 15,000 comparisons between Algonquin (Lenape dialects) and Old Norse (Lenape). The name Lenape will be used for both.

Al gon quin
All sons (of) leaders.

Mohi can
Moti gang
Fish hook : The Hudson River was called Moti gang for its fish hoop form when drawn in sand.

Stock Bridge
Sprinkled (with) water : One form of baptism is "Sprinkled with water."

Myron said...

Mun see
Opening to sea : The Mun see people lived near the mouth of the Moti gang.