Just a reminder that Samson Occom Day is coming up this Wednesday! For those who may have missed the news, in 2020, the Brothertown Indian Nation Council established July 14th as an annual Brothertown Indian Nation holiday. It is the 2nd national holiday instituted by our tribal nation. The other is Eeyawquittoowauconnuck Day which is celebrated on November 7th; the day Occom recorded in his journal as the date of the formal founding of our “body politick”.
How do you plan to celebrate?
For further reading on Samson Occom, please follow this link:
Wisconsin’s Governor Evers has declared this Saturday, November 7th, Eeyamquittoowauconnuck/Brothertown Day in the state of Wisconsin! This coincides, of course, with the tribe’s annual celebration of this date which, according to the Reverend Samson Occom’s journal, is the day on which our Brothertown ancestors gathered into a “body politick” in New York and christened themselves “Brotherton, in Indian Eeyawquittoowauconnuck.”
You (Brothertown descendant or not) are invited to join us in our virtual celebration this Saturday, November 7th. We will begin at 6:30pm Central with a welcome from our Tribal Council and a reading of the proclamation followed by a presentation from Andrew Olson on the Brothertown Indians involved in Indiana’s St Mary’s Treaties. Please contact me for login information.
Hope to see you there!
Tonight, February 7th at 8pm CT, the Peacemakers will be hosting their monthly meeting on Zoom. Everyone, enrolled or not, is invited to attend. https://zoom.us/j/272190735
Sunday February 16th at 10am CT will be the next Council/General Membership meeting. This event will also be attend-able via Zoom but only for enrolled citizens. If you have not already signed up for online Council meetings, please fill out this short form to do so: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSffhwOkN5PAj8_mwyNk7v6ZFIidZZ48GCZY0oS6gAH46WDzgw/viewform
Calumet and Cross Heritage Society will be hosting an all day singing event at Union Cemetery in Brothertown, Wisconsin on June 27th with dinner coordinated at a nearby home. Everyone is invited to attend and to sing (shape note style) to our ancestors and honor headman Thomas Commuck on this year’s 175th anniversary of the release of his Indian Melodies.
Here is a list of additional 2020 Brothertown events:
All nations have their own unique anniversaries, holidays, and nationally-revered “heroes”. Annual dates of remembrance not only honor a nation and its ancestors but are an effective way of ensuring that these events and people remain perpetually in the individual and collective memory of a nation. Celebrating its people and anniversaries also helps to instill national pride and fosters a sense of community amongst citizens.
The Brothertown Council is currently considering resolutions to memorialize two important dates as annual Brothertown days of remembrance: July 14th, the anniversary of the death of Samson Occom (1792) and celebrated as his feast day in the Episcopal Church; and November 7th, the date in 1785 that Occom recorded in his journal as being the date “we proceeded to form into a Body Politick we Named our Town by the Name of Brotherton, in Indian Eeyawquittoowauconnuck (https://collections.dartmouth.edu/occom/html/diplomatic/785554-diplomatic.html).”
245 years ago today, March 13, 1773, our ancestors gathered in Mohegan for the first planning meeting for the community that would eventually become Brothertown. Happy Anniversary, Brothertown!
This Sunday, March 4th at 6:00pm CT/7:00 ET, Ms. Laura Murray, author of To Do Good to My Indian Brethren, will be speaking to us about her research and book on Joseph Johnson, the youngest of our Brothertown founding fathers. Not only is this a unique opportunity to gain insight and to speak with a knowledgeable researcher and author on Joseph Johnson, but it is also a great opportunity to connect with your Brothertown family no matter where you live. Don’t miss out!
This is a family-friendly event and is open to the public. See you there!
Today, November 7, 2017, marks the 232nd anniversary of the “incorporation” and naming of Brothertown. On Monday November 7, 1785, Occom noted in his journal that, “we named our town by the name of Brotherton, in Indian Eeyawquittoowauconnuck.” By virtue of the fact that Occom included this “Indian” name in his journal, we can make the assumption that this detail was important. However, while we know that Eeyawquittoowauconnuck means “Brotherton”, ideas vary a bit on exactly how Eeyawquittoowauconnuck would be translated.
In his book, Becoming Brothertown: Native American Ethnogenesis and Endurance in the Modern World, Craig Cipolla makes the claim that Eeyawquittowauconnuck means “town or plantation of equals or brothers,” or “many eat from one dish” (p95). In The Collected Writings of Samson Occom, Mohegan, Joanna Brooks quotes Stephanie Fielding (great great great niece of Mohegan linguist Fidelia Fielding*) who “believes that [it] translates as “he does so like someone looking in a certain direction or a certain way.” Phrased differently, this meaning might indicate a group united by a distinctive shared perspective” (p 25, footnote).
While the proffered translations may not be exact and are each a little different, Eeyawquittoowauconnuck reflected the desire of its founders that it be a distinct place where inhabitants with a common vantage point were bonded to one another within a caring community.
…..to be continued.
Daunted by its 22 letters and 7 syllables, some people simply refer to it as “the E-word”. However, Eeyawquittoowauconnuck is not just a word; it is a name. It is our name; one that holds meaning and value for us as a People. For those who are not already comfortable using it, it is well worth taking a few minutes to become more familiar with “Eeyawquittoowauconnuck”*.
For the sake of ease, let’s start by dividing Eeyawquittoowauconnuck into 7 manageable syllables. They look like this:
Now, lets pronounce them*. Try saying these out loud:
“Ee” (pronounced just like it looks…like the long sound of the letter “e” as in “me”)–Ee
“Yaw” (rhyme it with “paw”)–Yaw
Next, put those 2 together: “Ee”+“Yaw”= “Eeyaw”.
Say it out loud so your tongue and ears get used to it.
“quit”(pronounce it with a long “ee” sound in the middle so it rhymes with “tweet”)—quit
“too”(also like the English word too)—too
Now put them together and say them out loud. “quit”+”too”=“quittoo”.
Let’s go back and pick up the first part and pair it with this: “Eeyaw” + “quittoo”=“Eeyawquittoo”
Good job, we’re almost done!
The next 3 syllables are:
“wau” (rhyme it with “la”)—wau
“con” (like the English word con)—con
“nuck” (rhymes with truck)—nuck
Now, put those 3 together: “wau”+”con”+”nuck”=“wauconnuck”. Say it again, “wauconnuck”.
Finally, lets put the entire word back together: “Eeyawquittoo”+”wauconnuck”=”Eeyawquittoowauconnuck”.
Congratulations, you did it! Now keep using it. Try it out at the next Brothertown gathering, teach it to your kids, greet one another with it. Eeyawquittoowauconnuck is who we are. Say it often and say it proudly: Eeyawquittoowauconnuck!
UPDATE WITH AUDIO:
*It should be noted that the above pronunciation of “Eeyawquittoowauconnuck” is based on the author’s personal estimation of Occom’s spelling of the word as found in his journal entry of November 7, 1785. Occom had a strong grasp of the phonetic sounds of English letters and wrote the name accordingly. The author acknowledges that there is, however, some room for variation. For example, the double o’s in the 4th syllable, “too,” suggest that Occom heard it as either the “oo” sound as in “too”(as presented here) or possibly, the “Uh” sound as in “book”. Mohegan linquist, Stephanie Fielding, suggests that Eeyawquittoowauconnuck, in Mohegan orthography today, might be spelled “Iyáhqituwôkanuk”(1). Using the Mohegan pronunciation guide(2), as found in Fielding’s work at http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/collections/MoheganDictionary.pdf, the pronunciation of this 4th syllable (“too”/”tu”), might change the sound into “uh” as in “pup”.
- Brooks, Joanna. The Collected Writings of Samson Occom, Mohegan. p25, Footnote 28.
- Fielding, Stephanie. A Modern Mohegan Dictionary, 2006, pp 9-10.
243 years ago, on October 4th, 1774, the land contract between the Oneida and the “New England Indians” was drawn up and signed. Officiating was Guy Johnson, who had recently succeeded his late uncle, Sir William Johnson, as Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the northern portion of North America. A copy of this document is transcribed below. To see the copy this was taken from, as well as many other Brothertown-related New York documents, please visit the “Brothertown, New York” section of the Digital Historical Library on this site*.
By Guy Johnson Esquire, Superintendant of Indian affairs for the Northern Department of North America, &c, &c.
Whereas the Indians of Mohegan Narragansett, Montock Pequots of Groton and Stoneington, Nahantic, Farmington, inhabiting within the New England Governments, did last year represent that they were very much straightened and reduced to such small pittances of land that they could no longer remain there and did through the channel of Sir William Johnson Bar & late superintendent apply to the Six Nations for some lands to live on which was at length agreed to in my presence at the last Treaty and a Tract allowed them by the Oneidas and whereas some of them have since in company with the Oneida chiefs, viewed the said lands and determined on its boundaries as follows desireing a certificate of the same as that it might be entered on the records of Indian affairs Viz. Beginning at the west end of the scaniadaries or the long lakes which is at the head of one of the branches of Orisca Creek from thence about twelve miles northerly or so far that an easterly course from a certain point on the first mentioned course shall intersect the road or pathway leading crom old Oneida to the German flats, where the said path crosses Scanindowa Creek the line settled as the limits between the province of New York and the Indian at the Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768, thence Southerly along the said line about thirteen miles or so far that a westerly line from thence keeping one line south of the most Southerly bend of Orisca Creek shall reach the place of beginning do as to comprehend(??) the lake first mentioned.
I do therefore in compliance with the joint request of the said Oneida and the said New England Indians declare that the said Oneidas do grant to the said New England Indians and their posterity forever, without power of alienation to any subject the afore described tract with this appernenancies in the amplest manner-also full liberty of hunting all sorts of game throughout the whole country of Oneidas beaver hunting only excepted, with this particular clause or reservation that the same shall not be possessed by any persons deemed of the said Tribes, who are decended from or intermixed with Negroes or Mulattoes**.
Even under my hand and seal at Arms at Guy Park- October the 4th 1774
(Signed) Guy Johnson (and his seal)
We the chiefs in testimony of the foregoing affix the character of our Tribes unto the day and year above mentioned,
The Mark of Longhqish(turtle) The mark of Ughmyonge (wolf) The mark of Canadegona (bear)
*A special thank you to the Hamilton College Library staff for their assistance in providing this, and numerous other Brothertown-related digital documents.
** The exclusion of “Negroes and Mulattoes” from Indian lands was a legal requirement implemented by the Colonies in an effort to quell the possibility of concentrated slave uprisings (1).
(1) Stone, Gaynell. The History & Archaeology of the Montauk Volume III 2nd Edition, 1993, p. 520