Mashantucket Pequot - Heritage Voices 12

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On today’s episode, we host Marissa Turnbull and Michael Johnson, THPO and Deputy THPO of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation in Connecticut. Michael Johnson is also co-host of the Native Opinion Podcast. On this episode they talk about how their tribe went from very early colonization to only few families living on their state reservation in the 1970s to federal recognition and then to economic success that led to them being seen as a casino rather than a people. The Nation has found themselves in the middle of the debate on who is “a real Indian”. In 1993 Donald Trump argued before Congress that the Mashantucket Pequots should not have been given federal recognition and been able to become a gaming tribe because “they don’t look Indian”. We talk about what that’s been like for them as a tribe, but also how they would define their own narrative and the importance of education in doing that. Along those lines we talk about their history, their gardening and cultural education programs, and what they would like to achieve as a THPO, including seeking international repatriation of a wampum belt. 

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