For more than 20 years, the Tribe has developed and funded programs and activities to help support the educational system including the Mohegan Challenge Grant, Teacher of the Year celebrations and in-reach and outreach programs.
Cultural Outreach & Educational Programs
Even before gaining federal recognition over 25 years ago, the Mohegan Tribe has been a resource for local schools and communities on Native American studies. Below are some of the larger initiatives currently available to schools and communities. To book any of the below, please contact [email protected].
The Mohegan Challenge Grant program was established in 2003 to invite elementary, middle school and high school teachers throughout the state to submit applications describing their approach to developing a curriculum to address issues of Native American history, traditions, and culture, along with Tribal government and sovereignty. The winners receive grants of $1,000 each and are based on the applicant’s ability to provide the greatest use of all resources. Runners-up received a $500 grant this year. Funding provides educational and classroom materials, as well as a cultural exchange opportunity. Grant School recipients all receive a one-day instructional program with a visit to the school. Selected school groups are also given a complimentary field trip to the Mohegan Tribe’s Tantaquidgeon Museum, the nation’s oldest Native American owned and operated museum, and have a chance to see first-hand the archives and artifacts that are a vital part of the Tribe’s history. In the 19 years since inception, over 100 schools have participated.
The Mohegan Tribe works with the Teacher of the Year Council to host an annual gala at Mohegan Sun acknowledging all the finalists. Additionally, the Tribe hosts a full day cultural and educational workshop including visits to the Tantaquidgeon Museum & Village and the Mohegan Church.
The Educators Project is a combination of new in-depth resources and interactive tools focused on Native American studies, all of which are available free of charge to any teacher or homeschooler. As part of the program, customized lesson plans are made available by grade level and are written to meet required educational standards. A secured website supplies educators with lesson plans, printable study and film guides, worksheets, and video assets to help aid in their efforts to bring Native American studies to the classroom. Units and lessons are designed to be tailored to meet the needs and educational standards of the respective classroom and are geared for grade K through 12.
The Mohegan Tribe’s educational outreach program takes Tribal members to schools and community centers. Interested groups can request speakers and performers for a free, one-hour program. The program may include a Tribal welcome ceremony, woodland flute performance, Indian artifact exhibits, storytelling, Mohegan history lecture, dance exhibitions and interactive dance participation and a question-and-answer session.
Outreach activities involve members of the Cultural and Community Programs department and other Tribal members in bringing Mohegan culture to a wider audience. Activities include teaching Mohegan history, storytelling, dance demonstrations and bringing Mohegan culture to life via presentations of Tribal artifacts and their significance. Outreach programs bring Mohegan educators to schools, community and senior centers, camps, and local festivals.
A complimentary visit to the Mohegan Reservation lead by museum and cultural team members. Areas of focus include visits to the Mohegan Church, Tantaquidgeon Museum and Village.
- Public venues: Visitors can experience Indian dancing, drumming, flute playing, singing and storytelling at parades and fairs throughout Connecticut.
- Welcome/Opening Ceremonies: Mohegan culture has been woven into the opening ceremonies for Mohegan Sun and other Tribal buildings and programs. Conventions held at Mohegan Sun can reserve a traditional opening ceremony for their events. The ceremony may include a welcoming ceremony, opening prayer and blessing, drumming and singing and a flute performance.
- Wigwam Festival: The major cultural event for the Tribe is the annual Wigwam Festival, held the third weekend in August. The event includes native dance exhibitions, Indian art exhibits, native craft vendors, traditional native food vendors, contemporary native performers and old-style Pow Wow drumming.