Friday, September 4, 2009
Mashantucket Perquot Museum -September 4
This is our third Indian museum since we started traveling and sure thought we knew it all on the subject. Yet each tribe and their history is so unique,which is what we learned today. We had been traveling through some beautiful Connecticut countryside with its small villages when we saw off in the distance a tall building, which one usually finds in a large city. Then we remembered: Indian Reservation= a casino. It was a large casino,and near this area was the Native Indian museum. It equally was a large impressive building. The museum was much more than we expected and,as at Mystic,we did not allow enough time. It has a very complete history of the Pequot Indian,including his culture and beliefs. In 1637 their life together as a tribe ended. Six hundred men,women,and children were masacred by the English. The few who survived were sold into slavery and,over the years,some returned to a reservation set up by the government for them here in Connecticut. By the end of the 19th century they still remained a very small tribe. In the early 1980s the tribe started a casino. That was the beginning of good things that started happening for these people. Tribal leaders started working toward improving the way of life for the people living on the Mashantucket Reservation. Offspring of the original Perquot Indians started returning home. The newly revitalized community wanted as its goal self-sufficiency as well as self-governance.New public housing was built,as well as other community buildings. The tribal leaders desired for the infrastructure of their new community to be constructed with a concern for the environment. Equally important was the community life for its inhabitants and the continuance of tribal traditions. And that is not all of their success story. This reservation has gone into a variety of successful businesses; besides having a casino and hotel,they also have a profitable shipbuilding industry. And they also own a golf course. They have made many charitable donations to the March of Dimes and United Way. They gave five million toward the new Native American Indian museum in Washington D.C. Their success in recent years is an important part of their history displayed in this museum. I have posted here a picture of the museum. A good part of it is hidden by trees,unfortunately. The observatory tower is the taller part of the building,which we did not have the time to check out.