New Stockbridge Tribe

Variant name:

Muhheacunnuck Tribe

Address:

New Stockbridge, Oneida territory, NY

Description:

New Stockbridge Indians (also frequently called “Stockbridgers” by Occom) refers to the Stockbridge Indians who inhabited the town of New Stockbridge, NY, between 1785 and 1829. During the Revolution, Stockbridge, Massachusetts (a Christian Indian town containing members of several different tribes), hosted displaced members of the Brothertown Tribe, a group of Southern New England Algonquians who were in the process of immigrating to Oneida territory when the war broke out. The groups became close, and when the Brothertown Indians finally settled in Oneida territory in 1783, they secured an invitation from the Oneidas for the Stockbridgers to join them. Samson Occom, Brothertown’s minister, also preached at New Stockbridge, and he even moved there in 1789 due to political drama at Brothertown. Between the 1780s and the 1820s, all three groups struggled with each other and with encroaching American settlers for land. Unlike the Brothertown and Oneida Indians, the New Stockbridge Indians were steadfast in refusing to lease land to white Americans. Despite New Stockbridge’s perseverance, white settlers found ways to obtain Oneida, Brothertown, and Stockbridge land, and, by the 1790s, relocation was again appealing. In 1802, the New Stockbridge Indians were joined by the Delawares of Brotherton (a New Jersey Christian Indian town, distinct from Brothertown), and between 1806 and 1829, all of the New Stockbridge Indians left New York to move west. Moving west proved to be more easily said than done. Multiple times, the New Stockbridge, Brothertown, and Oneida tribes’ land deals fell through, and they were forced to relocate to less and less desirable territory. By the mid-18th century, many were living in Wisconsin, where they continued to face poverty and land encroachment. In 1843, a portion of the Stockbridge tribe accepted American citizenship to try to avoid further displacement. Another portion of the tribe refused citizenship. Political change in the 1930s enabled the Stockbridges to put some of their lands in trust, and, in 1972, that trust was expanded. Today, they maintain a reservation in Wisconsin and are known as the Mohican Indians or the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians.

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Sources:

Fisher, Linford. The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in Early America. New York: Oxford University Press 2012. Love, Deloss. Samson Occom and the Christian Indians of New England. Pilgrim Press 1899. Silverman, David J. Red Brethren: The Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians and the Problem of Race in Early America. Ithaca: Cornell University Press 2010. Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians. “Origins and Early Mohican History.” http://www.mohican-nsn.gov/Departments/Library-Museum/Mohican_History/origin-and-early.htm Accessed 5/16/2014.