Mahicans (also Mohicans) are an
Eastern Algonquian Native American tribe,
originally settling in the Hudson
River Valley (around Albany, NY), many then moving to Stockbridge,
Massachusetts after 1780, before the remaining descendants moved
to northeastern Wisconsin during the 1820s and 1830s.
The tribe's name
for itself was Muhhekunneuw
, or "People of the
River." Their current name is the name applied to the Wolf Clan
division of the tribe, from the Mahican manhigan
The Mahicans were living in and around the Hudson Valley
at the time of their first
contact with Europeans
in 1609. Over the next
hundred years, tensions between the Mahicans and the Mohawks
, as well as the Europeans, caused the
Mahicans to migrate eastward across the Hudson River
into western Massachusetts and
Connecticut. Many settled in the town of Stockbridge,
Massachusetts, becoming known as the Stockbridge
The Stockbridge Indians allowed Protestant Christian
, including Jonathan Edwards
, to live
among them and converted to Christianity
in the 18th century. Although they
fought on the side of the American colonists in both the French and Indian War
part of the Seven Years' War
the American Revolution
were dispossessed of their land and forced to move westward.
settled in the 1780s at New Stockbridge, on land allocated for them
by the Oneidas, and later in the 1820s and 1830s to Shawano County,
In Wisconsin, they settled on reservation
with the Munsee
; the two were jointly known as
. Today the reservation is known
as that of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican
Christian Indian community in the
present-day United States was established by Moravian Church missionaries at the Mahican
village of Shekomeko in 1740.
Their intent was to
incorporate the Native American people into European society
. They were so
successful in their efforts and so diligently defended the Indians
against white exploitation that the missionaries were hounded and
finally forced out by the government.
The now extinct Mahican language
belonged to the Eastern
branch of the Algonquian language
family. It was an
Algonquian N-dialect, as were Massachusett
. In many ways, it was more similar to,
and just as easily considered one of the L-dialects, such as that
of the Lenape
James Fenimore Cooper
The Last of the
is based on the Mahican tribe. It also includes some
cultural aspects of the Mohegans, a
different Algonquian tribe that lived in eastern Connecticut.
The novel takes place in the Hudson Valley,
Mahican land, but some characters' names, such as Uncas
, are Mohegan.
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Handbook of North American Indian languages (Vol. 15). Washington,
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(pp. 160-176). Handbook of North American Indian languages (Vol.
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entry]. Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon
Press. (Online version).
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North American Indians (Vol. 1-20). Washington, D. C.:
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