Fond du Lac County tribe seeks federal recognition
by Kat Griffith, Fond du Lac Country District 1 supervisor Mar 24, 2023
At the first County Board meeting I attended I was intrigued to hear a request from the Brothertown Indian Tribe asking Fond du Lac County to support its petition for federal recognition.
Embarrassing confession: Until that night I did not know there was a tribe based in our county!
Here’s a brief primer on the Brothertown and its important request.
Who are the Brothertown Indians?
The Brothertown are descendants of the residents of seven Christianized tribal villages in Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York. The seven original tribes were decimated by the diseases, famines and wars that accompanied European settlement.
Missionaries gathered some survivors together into seven “Praying Towns” and many of the young men and women attended a mission boarding school. There, they reimagined a shared future and decided to form a single community together.
They requested and received land from the Oneida Tribe of New York, where they founded the Brothertown community in 1784. Eventually they prospered there. However, between 1796 and 1815, unscrupulous land speculators and the state of New York — via fraudulent and illegal treaties, leases and acquisitions — dispossessed both the Oneida and the Brothertown Tribes of most of their land.