Posts Tagged ‘mohegan’

Have you ever met an Indian princess? I don’t mean a pampered, dark-skinned beauty from India. I mean an American Aboriginal honey; the fair and self-sufficient daughter of her tribe. No? Got a reason for that. It has nothing to do with them being locked in lonely, ivory towers either. And no it’s not because Indians (read: Native Americans) are extinct.

The other red folks; they say, “There is no such thing as an Indian princess.”  And we laugh at people who lay claim to having a Cherokee princess in their family tree. There is no such thing. Why? Because we didn’t have kings.

But I will look you in the face and I will tell you very seriously that I am a princess.

It’s a joke of course, while not being one. Always has been  that way.

You see, my family tree has some fun things in it – the way all family trees do. First of all, it has my mother and my father. It has a host of other red folks, a few German or English folks (that does NOT make me part White! Keep your White thinking out of my blog post lol!), and yes a few Black folks. All family trees are like that.

When you dig deeper it has other fun things. It has… Pocahontas. Alleged, but it’s there.

It has a few kings, some princes, a couple of dukes. Considering who Pocahontas married, that’s not a surprise. They’d be there because nobility were the folks who first came over.

So I can officially tell you my great-great-grand whatever is a Disney princess. Ha! These are the jokes, laugh or go away.

It also has an excellent fellow by the name of Samson Occom. Who was he? A Christian minister, Mohegan tribe by birth, who (with help from others) founded my particular tribe, the Brotherton. And I am his blood descendant. Which means my ancestor is not only the leader, he’s the founder.

You don’t have to know all of that to get the joke – when I look at you and tell you I’m a princess. Har. After all, wasn’t it said by little Shirley Temple in a movie once that all little girls were princesses? I just happen to be the feather wearing kind is all.

I only bring this up because I’ve lately been trying to revive some publications that were historically put out by people involved with my tribe, and some things by super-great Grandpa himself. I was just reading an article someone wrote about him, and I laughed at how families will come around and do circles. He was into carpentry, specifically made small joining works. That’s what my last name means: a woodworker that makes specific types of furniture. (And yes, I am known to make something once in a great while.) He practiced book binding: which is close to the things I do and always have done. And of course he did a lot of hunting and fishing… family trades I grew up with, as my father was a shrimper and truck driver. And like my super-great-grandfather I used to be a very very devout Christian.

Even generations later the fruit doesn’t fall from the tree.

So as I find documents, clean them up, and slowly begin working with getting them into our publication menu for other tribal members to find and have a physical copy of I think to myself that I hope he would approve. I actually think he would, so I am not worried.

Just this week I finally got a cleaned up copy of Indian Melodies by Thomas Commuck in for publication. This is a songbook for shape-note singing…. yes, all hymns. It’s of historical importance, but this article isn’t about it’s history. There are a lot of articles to be found on that point already.

I almost printed it last year, but I was talked out of it. There was already a copy available, I was told. So I ordered that… and was sorely disappointed with what I got. The company didn’t even TRY to make the pages legible. It was all wasted paper. Also, it came from India. That shouldn’t be a sore point, but it was… I wanted this book back home where it belonged! I’m a Brotherton, I own a publishing company, and no one was going to talk me out of it twice. I have been working very very hard on it as a result.

I’m waiting on some physical copies to see how it turned out. Then it will be in the catalog if I like them.

Well, that’s enough roots moment talk from me. Got so much work to do. Catch you on the other side of the corn field.

Did you know that I am working on a Mohegan language revitalization project for my people? No? Yes. I am. I didn’t plan on doing it, but circumstances landed it in my lap. I spent a lot of my time trying to think of things for it and ways to get my people to participate.

For a starter language project I took the old song Bella Ciao up. I realized, hey… this could work. I’ve been wanting to do a new song, and… I’ve always wanted to incorporate my people’s language. It’s perfect. I changed the lyrics and then translated the Bella Ciao part, the chorus, into Mohegan. I’ve been waiting to hear from the project’s language helper if I got it right and… I didn’t. But by luck I managed to do a translation that still worked. I wanted it to say Farewell my love (lover), but instead it’s Farewell love.

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