Mohican – “The people of the waters that are never still”
- Mohican (Muh-he-con-ne-ok) – “The people of the waters that are never still.”
- English colonists referred to them as the River Indians
- French colonists referred to them as Loupes or the wolves
- Algonquin based dialect
- Consisted of 5 bands and 4 matrilineal clan lines
- Prior – Near Albany, New York to Stockbridge, Massachusetts (the Berkshires), southwest Vermont, the entire Hudson River valley of New York from Lake Champlain to Manhattan, western Massachusetts up to the Connecticut River Valley, Northwest Connecticut, and portions of Pennsylvania and New Jersey
- Post – Wisconsin due to colonization and resettlement
- 1609 with Henry Hudson
- 1614 when the Dutch established a trading post called Castle Island near Albany, New York
Mohican Online Resources
The Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians
Tribal Government and Resources: https://www.mohican.com
Brief History: https://www.mohican.com/brief-history/
Hendrick Aupaumut's Letter to the New York State Legislature https://omeka.hrvh.org/exhibits/show/hendrick-aupaumut/introduction
Native Land Digital Resources on the Mohican: https://native-land.ca/maps/territories/mohican/
Dunn, Shirley W. The Mohicans and their Land: 1609-1730. Fleischmanns: Purple Mountain Press. 1994.
Frazier, Patrick. The Mohicans of Stockbridge. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 1992.
Hauptman, Laurence. The Native Americans: A History of the First Residents of New Paltz and Environs. Mid-Hudson Library System. 1975.
Ruttenber, E. M. History of the Indian Tribes of Hudson's River: Their Origin, Manner and Customs, Tribal and Sub-Tribal Organizations, Wars, Treaties, Etc., Etc. Orignally Published 1872. Kennikat Press reprint. 1971.
Trelease, William A. Indian Affairs in Colonial New York: The Seventeenth Century. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 1997.
The purpose of this entry is to provide general information about the Mohican tribe of the Hudson River Valley. This is an ongoing effort; HRVI will add and update these pages as often as possible based on additional research, access to new materials, and new scholarship. Readers are encouraged to learn more from the online resources, books and articles listed here.
The Mohican are part of the Algonquin linguistic group and lived on lands near present-day Albany, New York to Berkshires in Massachusetts. The Mohican lands extended from present day southwestern Vermont, west and south across the Hudson River Valley of New York from Lake Champlain to Newburgh and south and east across western Massachusetts into the Connecticut River valley. They included areas of Northwest Connecticut, and portions of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. During European settlement in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, many Mohican and others relocated to a Christian settlement at Stockbridge, Massachusetts. However, they were eventually forced to relocate to western New York then Wisconsin.
The origin of the name means “the people of the waters that are never still”; the native pronunciation is Muh-he-con-ne-ok. When Dutch and English settlers arrived, they referred to the Mohicans as the River Indians, while the French referred to them as Loupes or the wolves. The first known interaction was in 1609 with Henry Hudson and then in 1614 Castle Island, a Dutch trading post, established regular contact with the European explorers and colonists. The Europeans were interested in trading to obtain beaver pelts and other resources. Mohicans wanted to maintain positive relations with the Dutch and British through economic trade, but eventually they would be forced off their land as the British claimed it was theirs for the taking. European diseases also contributed to the elimination of Native Americans in the Hudson River Valley, and the conversion efforts of Christian missionaries deteriorated Native traditions and culture.
The Mohicans, like many other indigenous groups, followed matrilineal lines of power. Within the Mohicans, there were five bands and four matrilineal clans (the bear, the wolf, the turtle, and the turkey). Bands are close kin, while clans are larger groups. When European settlement spread, the Mohicans were forced off their land and the remaining numbers moved to land in Wisconsin. A treaty was drawn up in 1822 to move many New York Native Americans to Wisconsin. Then following Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act, the Stockbridge Mohicans reluctantly moved in 1839 to a reservation in Wisconsin, as all Natives were required to move west of the Mississippi River.
Today, the Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians, the Mohican Nation, is federally recognized as a sovereign nation. It has a reservation in northeastern Wisconsin with a thriving community and tribal government. They operate a casino and a golf course in the same region as the reservation, which has allowed for economic development. Their government includes an office of Cultural Affairs as well as an Office of Historic Preservation. Through an agreement with Williams College, the Stockbridge-Munsee operate an office in Williamstown. https://www.mohican.com/services/cultural-services/historic-preservation/. Through an agreement with the Open Space Institute, the Stockbridge-Munsee are once again the owners and stewards of Papscanee Island and the Nature Preserve located there. https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/4b5d61785b064ff49ceff158e05e89fb
-Jessica Mild, Marist, ‘23