Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Stockbridge Bible is Returned and Comes Home

My series of posts on the Stockbridge Bible is coming to an end.

Before we come to the final chapter, here's a brief summary of the series so far:

Introduction to the Stockbridge Bible

From Generation to Generation: Fundraising for the Massachusetts mission by a retired British sea captain, results in the gift of a two-volume Bible from the Prince of Wales' personal chaplain.

A Summary of 50 Years at the Massachusetts Mission Town

The Stockbridge Bible and the Lost Tribes Theory

Calvin Colton Reports on the Stockbridge Bible: Colton, a former minister from the east, visits the Stockbridge Mohicans in 1830 and reports on their acceptance of Christianity and white "civilization," and their "reverence" for their sacred Bible.

Jamison Quinney and the Stockbridge Bible: More than any other Indian, Jamison "Sote" Quinney is associated with the Stockbridge Bible. Read this post to find out why.

The Stockbridge Bible and the John Sergeant Memorial Presbyterian Church

The JSM Church, Fred Westfall, and My Research: This post offers a rare inside look at my research.

The Westfall - Choate Correspondence: Who is Mabel Choate and what do the letters between her and Rev. Westfall tell us about the Stockbridge Bible?

Photographic Evidence in the Story of the Stockbridge Bible: When was the Stockbridge Bible kept in the Sergeant Memorial Church?

Collectors and the Stockbridge Bible

Making an Offer for the Stockbridge Bible: How did the two volumes get from Wisconsin to Massachusetts?

How the Stockbridge Bible Made News in the 1920's: What do area whites say about Sote Quinney and the Stockbridge Bible?

The Stockbridge Bible is Sent Back to Massachusetts: This is a controversial topic, so I wanted certain things to be made clear.

Samuel Miller: Chief Uhm-Pa-Tuth: A Lutheran Indian visits Stockbridge, Massachusetts and sees the Stockbridge Bible, within months of the time it left Shawano County, Wisconsin.

Gone but not Forgotten: The Stockbridge Bible, 1931-1975

Miller to the Trustees: You Have Our Bible

The Stockbridge Bible: The Fight is On

Kim Vele's Priorities as Tribal Attorney in the 1980's

Fight for the Stockbridge Bible: The Long Standoff: This post features a powerful letter from an anthropologist, explaining why the Bible should be returned to the Indians.

What Will it Take to get the Stockbridge Bible Back?

....And now we finally come to the point where The Trustees of Reservations take the necessary steps to return the Bible. Here is how I told it in the spring, 2007 issue of The Book Collector:

On December 19th, 1990, a judge in Massachusetts signed a document authorizing the Trustees of Reservations to return the Stockbridge Bible to the tribe. The judgement quoted Captain Thomas Coram's inscription: 'to the use of the Congregation of Indians... and is to remain to the use of the Successors of those Indians from Generation to Generation.'

Finally, in March of 1991, on a bright, chilly day, in a quiet but moving ceremony, the Stockbridge Bible was taken out of the museum established by Mabel Choate and handed over to ten tribal delegates.

[After they had been driving for a couple days and were almost home, the delegates] informed other Stockbridges of their arrival and were told to stop at a parking lot at the edge of Shawano. When the delegates arrived at the parking lot they found over fifty people waiting for them, including members of a confirmation class that had made huge, colorful banners to celebrate the return of the Stockbridge Bible. The impromptu celebration also included handshakes, hugs, hymns, and a big circle prayer. There was now a large convoy that headed to the reservation, passing what had been the John Sergeant Memorial Presbyterian Church and finally stopping at the Arvid E. Miller Memorial Library-Museum where the Stockbridge Bible is still kept today.

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