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Samson Occum

Born in a wigwam on Mohegan land, Samson Occum (1723-1792) was one of the first ordained Christian Indian ministers. Occum's popularity as an eloquent teacher and spiritual leader grew with Indians over a large part of New England. To accommodate this interest, he decided to form a New England Christian Indian School. The church sent him to England to raise funds, where he collected eleven thousand pounds from wealthy patrons, such as the Earl of Dartmouth and King George. When he returned however, he found his family destitute and his school moved to Hanover, New Hampshire, where it became Dartmouth College.

This disappointment was followed by the Connecticut Colony's ruling that the Mohegans would not be compensated for land they sold to the colony. The colony then backed an unpopular candidate for Mohegan Sachemship. This led the Mohegans to decide that no Sachem was better than a colonial puppet. With the Tribe increasingly penniless and powerless, Occum accepted an invitation for his group to resettle with the upstate New York Oneida. He hoped their new home in Brothertown, New York would free them from additional disappointment. His legacy for the Mohegan people who remained in Connecticut was a reputation for being Christianized, which helped them avoid later relocation.

Trail of life
Represents the path walked in life
Gladys Tantaquidgeon
10th generation of Chief Uncas
Blue
Represents the sky and spirit
“This heart is not mine, but yours.”
– Sachem Uncas
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