A Tunxis Conversation

[The following is a transcription of a recorded conversation about the NEH ARP Common Unities project.]
Courtney Cottrell Gerzetich: [00:00:01] Hello, I'm Courtney Cottrell Gerzetich.  I'm the THPO [Tribal Historic Preservation Office] for the Brothertown Indian Nation.
Craig Cottrell: [00:00:13] And I'm Craig Cottrell. I've been a member forever, and as a member also of the Tribal Council, I've been treasurer, vice chair, and just a member at large on the committee for many, many years.
Courtney: [00:00:27] All right. So these are our final thoughts about the NEH Tunxis project. Do you want to go first? Do you want me to?
Craig: [00:00:35] Yeah. I mean, I can start I mean, the project was interesting because having never other than looking at our own historical documents, you know, I've never really spent any time with the other bands that made up kind of the Eastern seaboard, you know, Christian tribes to an extent when Occom had become Christianized. So it was very interesting personally for me to follow that and see where it went and, you know, and never really understanding that some of them are no longer around. The names are, some of the names, but not the, not the actual bands, the tribal groups. So that was interesting. And then I must confess, my premise was how did they, how did they have to disband? What happened to their land? What happened to their peoples? So I was hoping to find evidence that it was maybe just a kind of a merging or melting into the other bands that had maintained land and a way of life. But as we talk further, we'll go into that much in more depth.
Courtney: [00:01:47] Yeah, I guess. And I didn't go into this project thinking I would get anything specific out of it, just that I did it because as THPO, you're supposed to track ancestral lands. And so for us that means other tribes, other historic tribes, ancestral tribes. So that's sort of what I went into this going or went into this thinking about. I do have a couple specific documents that sort of stood out to me that weren't about land, because here's the thing about land. I have this whole spiel about the phrase "land back", you know, and how a ton of Indigenous people and natives all over the US, Canada and even all over the world are constantly shouting, "We need our land back, land back, land back." And at one point I was like, How is that even feasible? There is no plot of land on this earth that isn't occupied or owned or anything like that. But then the problem is, is that when you're reading through a lot of these land deeds and it's the same thing over and over and over and over again, you start to realize that that's exactly what they did. They stole all of this. It was they paid for it, but it was not.
Craig: [00:03:07] Yeah, and I know where you're struggling because I struggled with it, too. And probably many people have -- the term -- what's the terminology for it? I mean, "stole" is is is probably very descriptive, but they did offer some form of compensation in many cases for individual lands and even some of the groups that formed. But how they did it is kind of what I found reading the documents, historical documents, how they did it has really not changed to this day. And I'm not going to go off on a whole other a whole other route here. But how they came about to create the necessary legal foundations, how is that, and legal entities in order to do what they did, in my opinion, hasn't changed still
Courtney: [00:04:02] The difference is, is that nowadays it's been established and at this point it was in the act of being established, which makes it even worse, right? Because now you are hundreds of years into the future and this is how things have always been done, so now you know what to expect.  Then, it wasn't expected, you know, and it was so meticulous, sort of how they went around and got every parcel of land in one area from individuals is just crazy.
Craig: [00:04:31] Well, and keep in mind, the immigrants I don't want to say illegal immigrants, but basically, whatever you might call them, they were religiously prosecuted and I should say persecuted and prosecuted, so they kind of came over here. So they weren't you know, they weren't - people think of the United States as a country. It was not at that point. So the King's legal system is the Crown literally was the legal system. So what I found interesting is that there was almost a smooth transition between what would be considered English jurisprudence and the new American jurisprudence. America's judicial system, you know, definitely follows that extremely closely with very and we need legal scholars, historical legal scholars to tell you the differences. But the truth is, we didn't, we weren't afforded that, meaning the Native Americans, the Indigenous people who occupied those lands. And I don't want to say own them, because most tribal people don't look at land as something they own. They look at something that has been given to them by the Great Spirit for them to live on. And therefore they cherish it, but they don't necessarily have an ownership mentality. So you've got to add that into the mix on that. So I think it became easier for the European immigrants to find ways and utilize, let's start from scratch judicial systems and political bodies to accomplish what they set out to do and it worked to a T.
Courtney: [00:06:10] And, going with that, you know, do you own the land? Do you not own the land? What makes it yours? What makes you have the right to this land? I always teach in American Indian Studies classes that there's this pristine myth that we always talk about, that before Europeans came to basically North America or the Americas, the New World, right? -- North and South America and Central America -- is that they thought that none of the Indigenous groups did anything to the land, and so that it was pristine, it was untouched in some way. These people were just living there not doing anything. And that's not true because most of our highways, even today, are still using the old trade routes that natives used all over the place. They follow natural, I guess, landmarks. So they knew what they were doing, They were working on the land. But the thing is, is in one of these documents, this came about because so this is in 1738. So we're already like 100 years after all of this had started, right? 1738.05.02.00 is the document title. And basically it's a land deed like all of the other ones. Right. But the difference is, is that of the 200 acres that were already that used to be owned by natives in this Indian Neck area, it's now down to 90 acres. So less than half is still owned by natives. And all of a sudden their way of determining if these people own it changed. Instead of thinking they automatically owned it, these natives automatically owned it, they started to talk about, Oh, it's hold on one second. Sorry, because the notes are a little funny here. It says that this document, this piece of land wasn't supposed to be for sale, but has been quote unquote, work done by non Indians. And therefore they are starting to have this idea that if somebody works on the land, cultivates it in some sort of way, that they now have a claim to it. Sure. Which has now changed sort of.
Craig: [00:08:18] And that's definitely a European philosophy when it comes to land. If you utilize the land, if you, in essence, are on it and utilizing it, nobody stops you, then it's your land. That still sits today in legal profession. When it comes to squatters rights, I mean, they still exist in parts in many ways. So if you can squat on land and nobody tells you to get off, well then after what period of time and you're still there and you're you're open and hostile there and people know you're there, in essence becomes yours, that that followed them from Europe. I mean, there's no question about that. And Indian Neck is a great example and thank you for the segue on use because it's perfect you can literally take yourself back to the late 1600s, early 1700s. You come over from Europe and keep in mind, what do you have that we don't have today? Pretty much everything. So in other words, you have to traverse the land to find land, to plant crops, to hunt food, to gather wild rice, whether it's fish, fowl or animal, and vegetables, you have to find the way there to land that's available to do it. Well, guess what? The Indigenous people, the Tunxis in this particular project, were already there doing that around the Indian Neck and that river. The rivers were without a doubt. I mean, keep in mind what possible roadway is better than a river at that time. You know, in the United States' early history when it's still a subject to the Crown -- waterways.
Craig: [00:09:55] I mean, you only had a few that literally went out you know, in the Lewis and Clark expeditions, and so on and so forth, that would venture out to go on foot because you said it -- The Indian trails had already been established. The Indigenous people of that area knew where they could walk, but more importantly, where they could not. You're going to run into a big lake. You're going to run into an area that's a swamp. You can't go through it without it being very difficult. So they've already established good trail system. So they followed that. You know, I can put myself in their mindset and, Oh, this is nice land right here. We could plant a lot of crops right here. You know, we could start a settlement here. So the encroachment on the land is literally that -- it's an encroachment that, if not stopped, and the only way to stop it is to talk to them by the Indigenous group and say, please don't do this, we use this land. The Great Spirit gave it to us for use or to take it back in a hostile manner. You have to take it back from them. So I've seen how that easily played out. I was hoping there was more of what would be a more fair and equitable manner for which it was done over the course of 200 years. But it was not.
Courtney: [00:11:08] And this is what all the land claims clay cases come down to are documents like this. Plus, what we don't see are the what the federal government is doing at this time. Because at this point in the US history, you have states sort of jurisdictions being almost equal to that of the federal government. Right. And this is where land claim.
Craig: [00:11:29] Later, much.
Courtney: [00:11:30] Later. Well, this is where land claims cases are taking hold is figuring out who actually has jurisdiction. And if this was legal at the time based on sort of the federal, state, tribal system that we have now, which is a triangle rather than.
Craig: [00:11:50] Well, exactly. And prior to the American Revolution, you have a situation where it's the Crown. So the Crown actually has title to all of it. So even the people that came and settled there,they may have their land for use, but in all legal jargon, and perhaps I'm not correct in this, but the King, the Crown owned the land of the title of the land. So therefore, it was in other words, it was the federal the top government, dealt with the Indigenous people. And I think that really was tough in the early days for the new United States of America. Because you're right. Can you see them arguing, screaming at each other? Literally. I've got jurisdiction. No, you've got jurisdiction. When it came to a federal official and a state official.
Courtney: [00:12:34] So but it also seemed that the Crown was much more lenient on the Indigenous populations here than the colonists were.
Craig: [00:12:42] Well, I think a detachment that's a that's. I agree with you. And that's a fact, I believe. But I think it's due to detachment. I mean, they were the Crown was pretty much interested in what can it get from the New World. You know, that's about it. And if you look at British history in other areas that they've gone out and when the sun doesn't set on the British Empire, you'll see basically the same type of modus operandi. You know, get it, do this, set it up, but then try and govern it. And that's where the problems occur. Trying government. Because no matter what you do, you can't replace the Indigenous population with one of everyone of your population becomes very difficult. So but in going back to some of the deeds you mentioned, I got a kick out of the early settlers forming and getting together and becoming friends with a few of the indigenous people. And I mean two, three, four, five. Kind of same family related to an extent, making them head people or headmen of their of their. And then all of a sudden they now have the authority to sell all of the tracts of land for the entire Indigenous people there to a group or a person. I found that to be just an absolute contemptible way to do it. But the truth is that still goes on and it can.
Courtney: [00:14:04] Still not just. Hear that? So Rwanda, the genocide in Rwanda, that's exactly what happened when the Dutch came, I believe it was the Dutch. They pitted the Hutu and the Tutsis against each other, even though those two, what you can think of as indigenous groups, had lived there in harmony and have tons of common languages and same traditions and stuff like that, That's just a way to do it. You befriend somebody, which means that you can then manipulate them and sort of go from there. It's despicable but it's also very effective.
Craig: [00:14:42] Very effective. And again if you go if you put yourself back into their period of time, if you try, it's almost impossible if you really try, because it's easier, in my opinion, to think of what it's like in the future than it is what it is in the past. Because you already have all of the -- you've already experienced all the advantages of time. So it's very difficult to put my mind back into that mindset. But I can easily see, I can see the people at that point. They're now wondering what are we going to do? You know, what's going on? We really don't have any land. When Connecticut had a General Assembly, they said, You can no longer sell this, this 200. Got to remain for them and you can't sell it ever. Well, yeah. Yeah, that sounds nice. Proclamations are beautiful, but there are pieces of paper, so, you know, what are you do? I mean, if you're trying to if you're trying to keep your family together and you're trying to keep your relatives close by and your people, you're going to move where it's a more stable environment.
Craig: [00:15:41] So, you know, and I've seen that happening. You see it in all of the tribes that are still there or have moved like we've moved to Wisconsin. Stockbridge moved to New York and Wisconsin, Oneida moved from New York to Wisconsin, etc., etc. You can, I think, you can easily make the case a lot of people have Tunxis blood in their DNA without doing a large DNA analysis. I think that's what happened. I think they've kind of went in with those groups. Finding the names of surnames is I can see why it's hard, because if you're going to move in with a more dominant group, what are you going to do? You're going to end up going into their names. So you become their names at some point. So I can see why there's not a lot of Tunxis names still around. You know that that was. That I kind of expected going in. So that doesn't surprise me. It wouldn't surprise me if we have Tunxis blood in us, you and I. I mean, we go all the way back to Occom, so, I mean, it's highly possible.
Courtney: [00:16:46] Yeah. I'm that person that doesn't care so much about blood. As long as you're part of that group, like, you know, the traditions. You know, you're raised in that stuff, right? Blood is a very tricky. It's a slippery slope. But thinking about that, and because there was an act in here in 1727, there was an act concerning Indian children that directed English families to take in Indian children, to teach them to read and indoctrinate them into Christianity. And there was a fine attached to this doctrine that said there would be fine 40 shillings if they found that they were negligent. So this is the exact same way. Like it's not just adults that they're doing this with. They're going with children. And we see this throughout native history. Like we think that boarding schools were the first time that children were taken away and try to be indoctrinated. But we all know the story of Pocahontas and how old she was. You know, it's easy to take children and sort of mold them into what you want them to believe. And so I'm assuming this is just a precursor to basically adoption laws now.
Craig: [00:17:52] Sure.
Courtney: [00:17:53] And so these children probably were given English names, including the surname of that English family that they were put into. Correct. So, yeah, you just don't know. You don't know what they are anymore.
Craig: [00:18:04] Yeah. I mean, that's I mean, we could we could spend probably a good half hour on the education, if we want to call it that, you could call it indoctrination. I think that's probably a better term. I mean, but look at indoctrination continues. I mean, it's not like indoctrination has gone away from all subsets of humanity, all races. I mean, some of the religious institutions today indoctrinate their people. I mean, you learn this way and this is it. So, I mean, that indoctrination continues today. It might be a human condition.  For the native people, it became difficult. It became in the beginning, I can see them saying, you know what? When you look at especially when it comes to Christianity, you look at a prophet who preached brotherhood, peace and harmony, and you thought, well, this is what we did. This is kind of how with our own we had our own squabbles with other bands. Don't get me wrong. But, you know, this is kind of more attuned to our way of life, or at least the way it was, not thinking that just because they've taken on that and called it and gave it a name. Christianity in this case, meant that they actually practiced it the way the prophet had spoken. So, you know, I can see that happening very easily and grabbing out of it. I mean, native people, not to use a generalization, but tend to be more attuned to nature at that time and the spiritual.
Craig: [00:19:27] So it kind of made sense and it was attractive. So sending your kids to get educated, maybe for several, that was a good idea and maybe it started out that way. You know, they actually probably did. You know, we can teach them how to read and write, which would be great because communication's key. However, you know, the rest of it comes with it. You can't take just pieces of it. You've got to take it as a whole. So I agree, You know, besides educating the young and the others and alcohol was a was a motivator. You don't see it a lot. But there's a few documents that mention, you know, you know, they were causing some trouble in the town square. Well, basically what they're saying is, you know, they had some alcohol and now they go to jail. They have to post bond to get out or whatever they call it. Back then with the goaltender, which I thought was interesting, a goaltender was a warden. I think that's interesting. Sorry, I just I found that very humorous. The goaltender was actually originally warden. That would be the closest translation to it or, or equivalency, but I thought that was interesting because now, now you've got to put something up to get out, out of the goaltender, you have to put up something. What do they got? Really? What do they have?
Courtney: [00:20:48] Well, there was that one that did the land.
Craig: [00:20:50] Exactly. That's what I'm that's what I mean. So the only thing they really had of value was where they resided, you know, And for them it was like, well, you know what? What am I going to do? You know? And that's just another form of, oh, man, I got this from an elderly man in the town of Brothertown in Wisconsin, who I said, what happened to all of the Brothertown owning the land in the township of Brothertown, which was the original reservation boundaries in Wisconsin? And he said, well, you know, the Indian people around here really couldn't hold their liquor very well. Then came the sheriff sales. So this isn't something that occurred back in the 16-, 17-, 1800s, this went on well into the late 1900s and possibly still today. So several factors came into why they lost their land. And that, of course, then corresponds with them, kind of, I'm not going to use the word "extinct", because that's not true. I think they disbanded as a group. You know, like-minded group with the same ideologies and lifestyles and joined I just I'm you know I can see them just joining in with people of their kind which would be the other bands, you know, you can throw King Philip's War in there, too, as part of a catalyst. I mean that was a huge catalyst in the early part. So. But was the project designed to find out what happened to the Tunxis?
Courtney: [00:22:30] No, I don't think so.
Craig: [00:22:32] So, I mean, that's kind of what we're kind of talking about that. But you could use that for several groups over by Connecticut. I mean, not just that area, but there are several bands in that in that area that probably kind of fell to the same state. Some are still around. You know, that's for sure. The biggest, of course, would be the Mohegan and the Pequot, I would assume at this point. But, you know, that's not to harp on the land, but if you lose your land, you lose where you're at. You lose your community. . . What do you think?
Courtney: [00:23:15] I was just going through some of these because I did them in batches because there were just too many, too many of the same thing.
Craig: [00:23:21] Yeah.
Courtney: [00:23:22] So it's not like I remember anything specific anymore.
Craig: [00:23:28] Well, it's the only thing pops into my mind is there were there are name there are names associated with those who got the land. And I am not going to go into the names, you know, it would be difficult enough to remember. I would have to look them up completely. I know a few, but I'm not going to say names. But, you know, it really should come down to the history of the names of those people and what their posterity -- Because you're going to see then a lot of information come out of that where that's standing now. And I believe they put that together in a form of a map, too, of ownership, which would show a lot. I mean, you can see that in our Brothertown, the map of the Brothertown township, you know how it was sold off and whoever ended up owning it, I mean, it's a small little snapshot of what happened on a larger scale on the East Coast when the Europeans came over. So, you know, that from that perspective going forward, I don't know how to tie it into. I mean, there was a question is how do we tie it into today? And maybe some relatives of ours, I don't know. I really couldn't find anything that would directly link us to the people within the documents.
Courtney: [00:24:50] So I don't think we have to I don't think it's about, I mean, it's hard enough in these documents to pinpoint where these areas are, because if you're just saying it's west of whatever. Right. You know, Indian Neck, you don't actually know. We don't have the legal terms or the property lines or anything like that to actually even pinpoint these parcels of land. So I think it's unfair to think that we're going to also find in these documents.
Craig: [00:25:14] Links some kind of some kind of. When I started reading them, I was trying to look for things that, look, there was a familiarity to them. But as I kept looking and going, one came close to Skeesuck, but it really was not. I mean, it could be, but, you know, without spending countless hours trying to find anything that could shore it up, you know, you're not going to know. So that was about it. I think perhaps our Stockbridge relatives, maybe a little bit better luck, because several of the people of that area did go up to Stockbridge. So that's a possibility. So we didn't touch on virus and illnesses that came with the Europeans.
Courtney: [00:25:56] I saw a couple of medical things in there and the land was used in payment for medical treatment. Yeah, there are a couple of those. There's also like a couple of these deeds in the 1650, 1660s that talk about hostilities between native tribes, including Mohegan and Tunxis and yeah, and sort of how they're using the land, as what would you call that?
Craig: [00:26:23] Bargaining chip.
Courtney: [00:26:23] Yeah. Yeah. And it's. And it's, of course, the colonists dividing the land to maintain the peace between the two tribes, you know? So a third party is going to position themselves in there.
Craig: [00:26:35] And there was this, there was a schism in, in, in the tribes over there at the time, too, because Uncas eventually is credited with forming Mohegan.
Courtney: [00:26:46] Tribe, that's who. So the one I was just looking at is actually a deed, an agreement between, hold on, Uncas and Arramamet.
Craig: [00:26:55] Yes. Yep. Yeah. And I think there was that was the schism that was a split. So you know they would obviously their historians would definitely have more information on that. But I mean you can see that it was beginning prior to even the arrival of the Europeans. So I mean, there was we're not saying everything was a Garden of Eden on the East Coast. No. Doesn't exist. But, you know, definitely the Europeans accelerated the loss of individual identities of close-knit Indigenous communities. There's no question about that. You know, so and I mean, you can I mean, we can say it was illegal. You can say it was done in a kind of deceptive means, but none of that really is going to change anything. They ended up gathering the land. And that's as good a way of kind of putting it as I can, you know, And that continued. Those things continue today around the world.
Courtney: [00:28:04] So rather than land back, what's the. What sort of reparations would be OK?
Craig: [00:28:13] Well, here we go back to again what's the basis of law? If you go back to Crown, then we purchased a large tract of land right on Lake Michigan. It was almost the whole eastern side of from the Winnebago, Lake Winnebago to Lake Michigan prior to the American Revolution. So, as a group, and that was never been able to be brought forward in court because it preceded the formation of the United States. But I question that because I think there are many, many instances where they use Crown Law as a basis for decisions when it came to who owned what. So, I mean, I don't know what type of reparation would be.
Courtney: [00:29:05] A refund for that land?
Craig: [00:29:08] I don't know, and, you know, and that's we laugh because having talked about this a few, few, many, many, many times, you start to wonder what would be considered a reasonable or a justifiable reparation? And you've got to think it's like for today, is this justifiable, what, about 100 years from now? You know, it's not. So what's considered, I think, recognition of who was there. I think recognizing them, having it out there, making it available for people to see in every day of their life, in a daily life, you'll see, you'll see signs, you'll see names, you'll see things, you'll see people talking about it. It's part of the histories of the communities. They should be part of their history, you know, it should be part of their story. We always talk about what your story? Should be part of their story, I think. How do you keep it alive? You make it part of your story.
Courtney: [00:30:00] I feel like there's ways that people, that the US, or even the state of Wisconsin is trying to do that. I mean, we've got Act 31 that says that high school, middle school and elementary school students have to be taught about the 12 tribes in Wisconsin, including the Brothertown. And so. But is that enough? Like, you know?
Craig: [00:30:20] And yet and then but then it becomes a great big orange room. You know what I'm saying? You become a beacon. They don't -- teaching of who is here, while you're teaching about all of Wisconsin history makes sense. Taking it as a separate chapter, you know, within the syllabus is saying, let's put a big spotlight on this. It's totally different. It's an outlier. No, no. If it's part of the entire teaching process.
Courtney: [00:30:51] And I don't know. I think it is I think that's up to the teacher. I don't know. That's true.
Craig: [00:30:56] That's true.
Courtney: [00:30:57] I'm not in the school district.
Craig: [00:30:59] I don't know. I mean, an analogy would be like slavery.  If you taught about how the economies grew in the South and even on the East Coast, you cannot -- if you taught it with the fact that they own slaves to be able to do the labor to get this done. Well, now it's part of the lexicon. I mean, it's not something you're teaching separately, so. You know, the "woke" crowd or whatever they call it and the what's the term they use for you can't teach this in the schools?
Courtney: [00:31:29] Of the critical race theory?
Craig: [00:31:30] Critical race theory. It's not a critical race. You know, you've got to put it you have to put a term on it so you can demonize it. So in my mind, if you taught that all together, it's all part of it. You know, I mean, you know, I just read an article in Smithsonian regarding, let's face it, cotton and indigo. Indigo was massive. Why was it massive? It was nothing when they first got there. But it came the largest export for the longest time. Why --slaves? It's very late.
Courtney: [00:32:00] Dye?
Craig: [00:32:01] Dye. Indigo plants. So, once that ended, so did the business for the most part because you had, if you have to pay that many laborers to produce it, it's not going to happen. Cotton was the same way. You know, the cotton gin was invented, but you still needed to separate. So they needed a ton of labor to do it. Without slave labor, cotton wouldn't have become, and I may be wrong, $8 Billion industry at the time, and we're talking about the 1800s. So I think you can't separate the two. And I'm using it as an analogy in it for Native Americans or Indigenous people, I don't think you separate them. I think you start there and you bring that into all of the discussions as a person is learning. I remember in high school history class, slavery really was about three pages in the history book.
Courtney: [00:32:55] But what is that supposed to do? It's supposed to give the general public an understanding, but what are they going to do? Like, what does that do for all of the people and all of the ancestors that suffered? If you don't even have like something as simple as an apology from...
Craig: [00:33:12] Well, you go back to "if you don't learn from your history, you're apt to repeat it." And I think that's not, I think that's an axiom. I really do. So if we don't teach and make people, make students aware that this has happened on the planet, let's avoid it happening again. It's very, very apt to happen again. It's a human nature thing, but I don't know how to answer what I have no idea what.
Courtney: [00:33:39] Yeah
[00:33:40] I mean, what's reparation for all of the land from Lake Winnebago to the coast of Lake Michigan for us? You know, when we were still in New York. Well, at the time, it would be the territory.
Courtney: [00:33:50] Especially because it's not just about land. It's about dispossession, the physical hardship that comes with it, the emotional hardship that comes with it, and the continuing like economic status of most natives. So, yeah.
Craig: [00:34:05] And, I mean, without bringing up the white buffalo. I think we're seeing more and more -- I don't know this. I shouldn't say that. I got to be, how I say this, it's got to be kind of. And you got to help me here. I think since the advent of gaming revenues, I think I've seen less and less. Less and less of the tribal people seeing history and culture as most important.
Courtney: [00:34:40] Oh. And they see what? Just capitalism is most important?
Craig: [00:34:45] Well, and contemporarily how they live today. Their standard of living is increased.
Courtney: [00:34:50] I think that's changing, actually. I think that's changing. I think in the eighties, so sixties, seventies, eighties, you got a whole urbanization of natives as they're trying to find better jobs and they're leaving their communities. And I think that's finally coming back, and the pendulum is swinging back. And so there's a lot more people coming back to the native communities and trying to connect with that cultural and traditional background. But yeah, it took a while.
Craig: [00:35:15] Took a while
Courtney: [00:35:15] to get there.
Craig: [00:35:17] And those that have, you know, have the revenues from the gaming economic development.
Courtney: [00:35:22] Have more access to things.
Craig: [00:35:24] More access. Yeah, they've definitely improved that. You know it's those tribes and Brothertown is one of those that does NOT, you know that for us to continue as a body politic, as Occom called it, you know, it takes a great deal of dedication by each individual because it's all volunteer. Everything you do is going to be a volunteer basis. So it's difficult to maintain a cohesive and contingent land base even if you don't have tribal land or land and trust with the federal government for a tribal group, it's difficult to maintain that because there's nothing you know, it's all individually owned. It's piecemealed out. Divide and conquer works great when it comes to land. So it's one of the best ways to do it from that perspective. And that occurred back in Indian Neck, too. There's no doubt it works like a charm. So, yeah, so I'm not sure what I'm not sure where we want to go from here.
Courtney: [00:36:34] We touched on all my things.
Craig: [00:36:36] I thought, yeah, I mean, my notes were pretty much kind of in the same order. I really didn't, you know, it was really it kind of focused on what happened to the area, why did it happen the way it happened. And it's just kind of, you know, put it all together, you know, put it all together. I mean, probably the two words that spring to mind, the biggest, if you put a heading on it, is culture shock. I mean, it just was such a culture shock. How did they deal with it? How could they deal with it? They have no concept of dealing with it. So, I mean, it was a culture shock. You know, had those Indigenous groups like the Tunxis been able to stay a cohesive group for maybe another 100 years, it would have been a whole different story. You know, they'd still have a political body, they'd still have their own sovereignty. So you know that I think that's goes all the way across the country, that same story.
Courtney: [00:37:38] And I think that speaks a lot to Brothertown's survival through all of this, because if you consider that the East Coast was one of the first sort of places of contact and all of the ancestral tribes were one of the first groups to be in contact with Europeans or colonists. And the fact that we still have a group, even though it's an amalgamation of multiple tribes, it's still a group of people that can trace themselves back, speaks, speaks lots.
Craig: [00:38:11] And, you know, and we have to definitely give credit to our leaders in the past who have kept it going as best they could. I mean, there's some very strong leaders that I remember, you know, when I honor them because of that. No doubt. And, you know, I don't know about other Indigenous groups on the East Coast, but I know the Brothertown people when they came together as a group, any education was important. I think it was one of the absolute most important tenets. And we see that in our membership. I mean, our membership is highly educated because they were highly educated. They were able to very, in a much more easier way, find their way to be able to live within the dominant societies they were at. They became part of those dominant societies. Our elders of the past were big in the county and state government, even prior to this Wisconsin getting its statehood, they were involved in it quite deeply. That shows that they were accepted as part of the community. They were there. They were also community members. So they were all part of that community.  That and what, in a way that just kind of is the biggest slap upside the head you can have, is when you're trying to get your tribal government recognition back with the federal government. They use that against you. And it's possibly the saddest thing that I've ever had to research and go into and talk about because it's just it's so horrible. Everything we did is what a person should do to better their people. And themselves. And then to turn that around on you and say, well, that's why we're not going -- We are not a tribe, you're not a nation, not a tribal nation. So, therefore, we're not going to give you the government-to-government relationship. Great. Wonderful. That's just fantastic. Although you'll do that to any country out there that decides to claim itself as a sovereign now. And next thing you know, you're putting up an embassy.
Courtney: [00:40:18] Because they're not domestic dependent.
Craig: [00:40:20] Oh, exactly. Well, there you go. Federal government, don't, you know, don't throw money at the domestic dependency. We'll be sovereign without your money.
Courtney: [00:40:31] That would set an unwelcome precedent for all the other tribes that already have sovereignty. So, well, I don't think that's going to happen.
Craig: [00:40:40] I -- truthfully? Or I think about this, I think that would be probably the best way to go. Who wants to create a dependency on money from someone else?
Courtney: [00:40:53] Yeah.
Craig: [00:40:56] But...
Courtney: [00:40:58] I guess, last thoughts on the project as a whole? Did you enjoy it?
Craig: [00:41:03] I did, and I did. I very much enjoyed once I started reading into the historical documents. It was funny how all of a sudden a few hours went by as I just kept going. You know, similar names popped up, similar things, and a pattern easily formed. Definitely. Thank you to our, the two who have started it all and.
Courtney: [00:41:26] Paul and Toby
Craig: [00:41:26] Paul and Toby. Because without them being able to organize it in ways especially chronological helped a lot that made it so much more understandable. While you're going through the documents, it's almost like it's a jig. Somebody said it a jigsaw puzzle where all the pieces just slide right into place and they did so. And I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it. But also had some there was some, what would you call it? Sadness, because it's a solemn thing. I mean, I don't enjoy reading about the loss of an entire distinct culture. And nobody should, we never should take joy in that. I was glad to be part of the project. I absolutely was. I'm very honored to have been part of it. Our discussions have been very stimulating and very interesting. But if you're a creature of history, it should be.
Courtney: [00:42:29] Yeah, I like the project too. It was nice to read. There's just there was 180, almost 200 land deeds, basically. And of that it's there's only like 20 that I actually found interesting because they said other things, you know like the child adoption one and there's one about murder and you know interesting things otherwise just the legal documents, the land deeds just kind of got a little old after 150 of them. Yeah. Yeah. But I think it's it's interesting. I think for me, I would have gotten more out of it if it was specifically Brothertown. Like I understand the ancestral tribes, but I have no connection to them necessarily. I have a connection to the Brothertown. And that in and of itself is its own thing, you know? So but there aren't any Tunxis. There's no established. I'm positive like you said, there are Tunxis around, but who, where? You know? So yeah I hope. I hope they got what they needed out of these two.
Craig: [00:43:40] Yeah, I do. I hope we were helpful.
Speaker3: [00:43:42] Yeah.
Craig: [00:43:44] All right, That's it. Thank you.
Courtney: [00:43:46] Gentlemen. Yes, thank you.