Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Stockbridge Story

In the early 1980's, three residents of Calumet County, Wisconsin, wrote and published a book called The Stockbridge Story. It was, of course, a book about the history of Stockbridge, Wisconsin, and since one of the co-authors, Elaine Doxtator Raddatz, is a Stockbridge Mohican, this book has information about that tribe that (until now) doesn't appear to have been repeated elsewhere.

In the book, Raddatz points out (and this is consistent with what academic historians have written) that "[s]everal trips over seven years were needed to accomplish the complete resettlement of the tribe from New York to Wisconsin"(page 17). The first band to leave New York State, of course, was John Metoxen's band (see my post of 11/19/08). In 1822 another band "loaded their covered wagons at New Stockbridge, N.Y., and hitched them up to teams of oxen and headed west"(page 16). Raddatz then tells us a remarkable thing that happened to those travelers:

In White River Territory of Indiana, where Metoxen's contingent had stopped about four years earlier, they sat with their brothers, the Delaware. Here, they were pursued by hostile Indians, who understood neither the English the Stockbridge spoke, nor their reason for dressing like the white man. By this time - after generations of association with the white man - the Stockbridge had lost much of their Indian culture.

I've talked to Elaine Doxtator Raddatz over the phone, and I don't think she was able to give me any specifics about that incident. It is just one more example of "civilized" Indians not having an easy time fitting in with other groups of people.

No comments :