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Pequot Indians share how they were forced to Pretend to be Black for their safety and survival

Listen to the Pequot Indians share how they had to hide their identity and become Black

They are the tribe that greeted and fought the Pilgrims in Mass. They are the tribe which owns Foxwoods Casino in Conn. And who President Trump calls “ The Michael Jordan Indians” because of their Blackness.

They ( The Pequot) tell you their names were switched in Federal Census in the attempts to strip them of their identity and land rights

Case Study 1: The Mashantucket Pequots Prior to first recorded European contact in 1632, the Pequot tribe was a daunting military

presence in southeastern New England, controlling thousands of square miles in the Connecticut

valley. Their population of about 13,000 was reduced by an estimated 55-95% by the European-

introduced, epidemic diseases that soon beset them. Their numbers were further reduced in

military conflicts, notably the Pequot War, during which hundreds of people were killed in a pre-

dawn raid on one of the tribe’s two principal villages. Carried out under the leadership of British troops allied with volunteers from the colonies and other local tribes, the 1637 massacre at Mystic

Fort took the lives mostly of women and children, many of whom were deliberately burned alive

while they slept. Pequots absent from the fort during the attack were subsequently hunted down

and executed,forcibly dispersed among neighboring tribes, or enslaved--sometimes as far away

asthe Caribbean. The 1638 Treaty of Hartford that concluded the war forbade any Pequots who

might have escaped to return to their villages and even required that they cease referring to

themselves as Pequots (Hauptman, 1990).The remnant tribe nevertheless declined to cooperate

with these injunctions, and in the 1650s the colony of Connecticut capitulated to their persistence

by creating four Indian towns for them, finally establishing a 3000-acre reservation at

Mashantucket, near Ledyard, in 1666. Records from 1674 showed 300 male Pequots. Over the

following centuries, the reservation was reduced to about 200 acres, and the population dwindled

under the pressures of poverty and other hardships. By1972, the total reservation population

consisted of 2 elderly ladies, Elizabeth George Plouffe and her half-sister, Martha George

Langevin Ellal. Plouffe died the next year, and her grandson Richard Hayward moved back to the

reservation. With the advice of lawyer Tom Tureen, who was helping tribal groups in New England

organize to bring land claims suits against the US government, Hayward recruited individuals with

Pequot ancestry to repopulate the reservation. By 1974, they had implemented formal

governmental structures and created a tribal roll consisting of 55 persons descended from the few

dozen individuals listed on the Indian supplement to the 1900-1910 U.S. Census. In 1983, the

group received federal acknowledgement by an act of Congress as The Mashantucket Pequot

Tribal Nation; they also received money to buy back tribal lands that Connecticut had sold, over

the years, without the federal oversight required by the Indian Trade and Intercourse Act of 1790

(Clinton & Hotopp, 1979-1980).

Federal acknowledgement transformed the Pequot petitioners into a sovereign, “domestic

dependent” nation. This designation implies a governmental status superior to that of US states

and exempts tribes from a great deal of state taxation and regulation (O’Brien, 1993). It also made it possible for the Pequots, under subsequent legislation, to open Foxwoods--a gaming

enterprise destined to become the world’s most profitable casino with annual profits topping one

billion dollars in some years (Bodinger de Uriarte, 2003). The flow of cash allowed the tribe to

organize a small-scale, well-managed, planned society with cradle-to-grave benefits—not only

huge shares of profits from tribal revenues, but also free housing and daycare, lucrative

employment, free private education for children and enormous stipends for advanced study, and

free healthcare—available to all individuals with any Pequot ancestry (Chappell, 1995). Current

membership in the tribe that some call “Connecticut’s royal family” (60 Minutes, 1994) is about

800 (Anthes 2008).

Criticism of the Mashantucket Pequot has been commensurate with their success. One

visible detractor has been casino mogul Donald Trump, who offered testimony protesting the

tribes’ competitive advantages in the gaming industry in Congressional hearings. Referring to the

fact that the Pequot are a highly intermarried tribe with many members showing obvious

relationship to other racial groups—primarily African Americans but also Caucasians

(Pasquaretta, 2003, p. 104)--Trump informed Congress that “they don’t look like Indians to me.

They don’t look like Indians to Indians” (U.S. Congress, 1994, p. 242). Tribal members also allege

The Ice Bridgians have no issue making deals with the enemy of the True American Indians

These are the Tribes proven to greet the Pilgrims when they arrived in Massachusetts

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