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Water is life: Lake Winnebago Podcast

“As the largest lake entirely within Wisconsin’s borders, Lake Winnebago spans nearly 132,000 acres across three counties. Fed by the Wolf and Fox rivers, it’s a place rich in significance for several tribal nations, including the Ho Chunk, Meskwaki, Fox, Sauk, Menominee, Oneida, Stockbridge-Munsee, Brothertown and others.”

It is this importance to multiple nations that led Mark Denning (Oneida/Menominee) to describe Lake Winnebago and its tributaries as “international waters.” Said Jessica Ryan, vice chair of the Brothertown Indian Nation, who recounted hearing this comment from Denning, “That (statement) really stuck out to us… We know that all these nations have called these waterways home, but that was really impactful. This is how all the trading happened, and the water sustained us. It’s the lifeblood of Earth.”

On this episode, we speak to the Lake Winnebago InterTribal Connectivity Project team as they embark on a multi-faceted, collaborative effort to assess water quality, sediments and wild rice habitat in Lake Winnebago. Said Blanc of the wide-ranging effort, “It’s going to take all of us, Native and non-native, from all spectrums of life to do this.”

Take a moment to listen to the whole podcast from Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute at the University of Wisconsin- Madision by clicking this link….

Introducing: The Curricomp House and Brothertown Acoustic Heritage Project

Current photo of the Curricomp Cabin 2020

This coming Tuesday September 27th at 7pm CST and again on Tuesday October 4th at 7pm CST, Seth Wenger will be hosting a zoom conversation to discuss Brothertown Ancestor Andrew Curricomp, and the role his home played in Joseph Johnson’s work to organize Brothertown. He and Dr. Timothy Hsu have conducted research regarding the acoustics of the Curricomp house and have samples so Brothertown members can listen to the acoustics of the space. The Curricomp house is still standing in Tunxis Sepus, now Farmington, CT.  Members can download an overview of the proposed project here

For those who are not familiar with Seth Wenger, he has an involved history with The Brothertown Indian Nation over the years, perhaps most notable to members, was his wonderful mini- documentary “Sounding Indian melodies in New Haven Connecticut Brothertown Indian Nation” which can be viewed here on the BIN  YouTube channel.

Please Visit the following links to find more information and a zoom link to participate in the meetings! This is a wonderful and important opportunity for us during our Restoration process. 

1950’s photo of Curricomp cabin before it was moved
Tunxis land in Farmington, CT 1759

August 30, 1759?

What is relevant to the Brothertown Indian Nation regarding this date?

Just over a month ago, on July 14th the Tribe celebrated Samson Occom Day. That is a hint…

Samson Occom

Many of us know about the great awakening” and the impact it had on a young Samson Occom. At 20 twenty (the year was 1743), he went to study with Rev. Eleazar Wheelock who ran a school. He attended the school with the intent of learning how to read so he could study the bible on his own. Since his own conversion Occom began to share the gospel with other Indians as well.  Even though he had very poor eyesight, he learned Latin and Greek as well as English. In fact, many of us also know he was one of the first American Indians to publish some of his works in English.

Eleazar Wheelock, began to think that he could use the other Indians (if they could be trained like Occom) – to carry the gospel to their own peoples. Soon he actively sought other Indians and used Samson Occom to travel to fill the school. Samson Occom had such an impact with spreading the gospel to other Indians, that he quickly became well known in religious circles in New England.  Presbyterian leaders on Long Island seriously began to notice Samson’s work.  They knew he did not complete college or his theological studies due to his poor eyesight. However on this date they ordained him August 30, 1759.  His mission from then on was chiefly to be a missionary to his own peoples. 

So now you know the importance of the date. (Now for some mystery about the specific date. Occom’s own diary mentions August 29th as the date of the ordination, and The “Sermon on the Ordination of Samson Occom” by Samuel Buell (you can download below) says August 29th – but Wikipedia and other sources mention he was “officially” ordained on August 30th so perhaps it only became “official” on August 30,, 1759 and the ordination ceremony/sermon was on the 29th.

Rather long way around, and Eleazar Wheelock was not quite finished with Samson Occom as he needed money for his Indian School and asked Samson to go to England to obtain funds – but that is another story for another time.

Interesting resources if you care to learn more: (Also, take a moment to investigate all the historical resources created for the new website, click on “Tribal Education and Reseach” which contains many links to our Tribal history and ancestors from athoritative and open sites...

Brothertown Graduates!

Just like in 2021, the year 2022 was a challenge for everyone, including you as students, but you prevailed. You were all impacted by the COVID pandemic in some way, having to learn new ways to succeed, and being away from your friends, but you survived, and you accomplished it!

“This is a time we reflect on the efforts of our ancestors, those relatives that have gone before us and those living that have simultaneously fought to gain traditional and western knowledge. That quest has historically, and continues to this day, to bring challenges that extend beyond the classroom for our Brothertown youth, as it has for other American Indians. As a Tribe, we acknowledge the effort you have put forth to achieve this significant goal and we honor your accomplishment. BE PROUD!”

Congratulations and best wishes to our graduates, from all the members of The Brothertown Indian Nation family!

Class of 2022

*We know this list is far from complete, if you know a Brothertown graduate we have missed, please send photo and information to be included …here…

Class of 2021

Request for Photos from Brothertown events!

If you have attended Tribal events and have photos we are asking members to please feel free to send them to the Website committee here…

These photos are invaluable to show the engagement and inclusiveness of the Brothertown Nation today. This will help in our attempt highlight our Tribe to visitors to our site in the restoration process.

Examples of current galleries we have put up include:

Photos we are lacking (any event from any year is also good), include:

  • Snow Snake Festival on Madeline Island (February 5, 2022)
  • PNW Gathering (July 24, 2022)
  • BIN Picnic (July 16, 2022)
  • Unity Bus visit to BINCC (July 8, 2022)
  • Any photos of the meeting with Oneida Tribe returning the Brothertown Archives (June 10, 2022)
  • Even roadside sponsored clean-up, cemetery clean-up even photos of Bingo events…
  • Additionally, we are looking for any event over the past few years…

A big thank you to all the Brothertown members for their support!

The Website committee

Call For Brothertown Nation Graduates 2022!

Calling for all 2022 Brothertown Indian Nation Graduates – please let us know as we are preparing our annual honor of all our Youth celebrating milestones in their educational accomplishments.

Remember, there was a time when our people could not obtain even a basic education or consider going on to a college education and so we do not take it lightly. The Tribe is proud of each and every one of you!

Please include a digital color Photo (and additional information: School, Town, State, Degree, et) and email here...

The Brothertown Indian YouTube channel continues to expand!

Two new playlists have been added to learn more about out tribe:

New Brothertown Indian videos to learn about or Tribal Family

Please take a moment to Subscribe to the BIN Channel to show your support for the tribe and these efforts

Additional videos which can be found on the BIN channel include:

Brothertown Indian Nation Memorializes Samson Occom on July 14 as the Anniversary of his Death Approach of Occom’s 300th Birthday in 2023.

Samson Occom Day July 14, 2022

Credit: Dartmouth Library

*This is an updated reprint of Brothertown Member Dr. Faith Ottery’s release from 2021.

The Reverend Samson Occom, born as a member of the Mohegan nation near New London, CT in 1723, is an integral part of history and legacy of the Brothertown Indian Nation, head quartered in Fond du Lac. As the day of Occom’s birth in 1723 is not documented, his death on July 14, 1792, is celebrated as Samson Occom Day and was officially acclaimed as such by a Brothertown Indian Nation Council on June 20, 2020. Occom’s 300 commemoration of his death will be recognized in 2023.

The early and lasting impact of Samson Occom’s has been broadly recognized beyond the scope of the Brothertowns (see resources below), with July 14 also recognized as the Day of Samson Occom, Witness to the Faith in New England in the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church.

Beyond the well-known history as one of the first and foremost English-speaking native missionaries in early New England, Occom:

  • Was one of the first Native Americans to publish his writings in English and the first Native American to write his autobiography.
  • Was critical to the founding of Dartmouth College, recognized by the Native American Alumni Association of Dartmouth College with erection of a memorial in 2019 on the site of Moor’s Charity School in Columbia, CT. This memorial is to commemorate and honor “Samson Occom for his contributions to the education of Native Americans and the founding of Dartmouth College.”
  • Is recognized by named locations throughout New England, especially New Hampshire and Connecticut
  • Has been honored with named recognitions such as the following:
    • The Endowed Samson Occom Professor of Native American Studies at Dartmouth
    • The Endowed Samson Occom Legacy Award for American Indian and Native medical students at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
    • World War II, United States Liberty Ship SS Samson Occom

The academic interest continues to be recognized, e.g., as with the Occom Circle Project, Dartmouth College

Join us in learning more about Samson Occom to celebrate his life and influence and the history and influence of Brothertown Indian Nation (some of these listings below link to additional information)

Below are several resources that you may find of interest in learning more about Sampson Occom and that Below are several resources that you may find of interest in learning more about Sampson Occom and that document Brothertown presence and history over more than 3 centuries. All can be located online for download (see select hyperlinks), and many are available the Brothertown Store or through any number of book sellers. To add to this listing or if you need help in locating a resource, contact brothertownoffice@brothertownindians.org.

Samson Occom

Credit: by Nathaniel Smibert
  1. A Short Narrative of My Life. Rev. Samson Occom 1768 and Sermon: Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans VI. 23 published 1772; in Early American Writings ed. Carla Mulford 2002
  2. Sampson Occom and the Christian Indians of New England . W. DeLoss Love 1899
  3. A man called Sampson: The Ancestry and Progeny of Sampson, a Mashantucket Pequot Indian, Born in What is Now New London County, Connecticut, including Brief Descriptions of Family Connections to other Historic Native American Family Groups, the Ancient Pequot Tribe, the Pequot War, the Brothertown Tribe of New York, and the Brothertown tribe of Wisconsin. Will and Rudi Ottery 1989
  4. The Collected Writings of Samson Occom, Mohegan: Literature and Leadership in Eighteenth-Century Native American Samson Occom (Author), Joanna Brooks (Editor), Robert Warrior (Foreword) 2006

For those who like or prefer audio resources: “The Betrayal of Samson Occom” from the Public’s Radio program website:

Brothertown Indian Nation Books:

  1. Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal Patty Loew 2013
  2. Becoming Brothertown: Native American Ethnogenesis and Endurance in the Modern World Craig N. Cipolla 2013
  3. Letters Home from the Brothertown “Boys” [a remarkable volume of handwritten and transcribed letters home from Brothertown Indian men who fought in the Civil War] Andrea R. Brucker and Caroline K Andler 2011
  4. Red Brethren: The Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians and the Problem of Race in Early America. David J. Silverman 2010
  5. The Brothertown Nation of Indians Land Ownership and Nationalism in Early America 1740-1840 Brad D.E. Jarvis 2010
  6. History of the Brothertown Indians of Wisconsin Ronald H. Lambert Sr. 2010

Brothertown Warriors Who Fought For Freedom – American Revolution

A history of our ancestors….

Image Credit: “Change of Seasons” by Bryant White. (White Historic Art, whitehistoricart.com)

While the Patriots had relatively little success in counteracting these British alliances with many of the Indian nations, most notably the Iroquois and Cherokee, they were successful in attaining their own allies.

The first official commitment to employing Native Americans by Congress was on May 25, 1776, when it resolved “That the Commander in Chief be authorized and instructed to employ in the Continental Armies a number of Indians not exceeding _______” (the number to be employed was agreed upon in June 1776 when Congress set the number “not exceeding two thousand men”). Following the call for allies, Congress relied upon the “New England Indians, [who] supported their colonial neighbors,” such as the Penobscot, Nova Scotia, Mashantucket, Pequot, Brotherton, and St. Johns.  On July 8, 1776, Congress resolved that Washington had permission “to call to our Aid so many of…” these New England Indians. (Passage taken from “‘Rebels and Indians’: The Participation of and Relationship between Native Americans and the American Patriots during the Revolutionary War 1775-1783 – by Bryan Rindfleisch, 2007)

An Important occurrence of Brothertown history happened in February of 1776 in a letter from George Washington to Joseph Johnson.  Taken from the National Archives, the letter begins:

“Sir,

I am very much pleased to find by the Strong recommendations you produce, that we have amongst our Brothers of the Six Nations a person who can explain to them, the Sense of their Brothers, on the dispute between us and the Ministers of Great Britain; you have seen a part of our Strength, and can inform our Brothers, that we can withstand all the force, which those who want to rob us of our Lands and our Houses, can send against usYou can read the entire correspondence here…

Take a moment this 4th of July to remember our Brothertown ancestors who helped create and forge this new nation with their sacrifice,

The known names of our ancestors include (Their names have been proudly placed on our Veteran Memorial Wall (view here…):

The Revolutionary War (1775-1783):

  1. John Adams
  2. Samuel Adams
  3. Solomon Adams
  4. Timothy Brushel
  5. Andrew Currycomb
  6. Christopher Harry
  7. Joseph Johnson
  8. Daniel Mossuck
  9. James Niles
  10. Thomas Occom
  11. David Occom
  12. Thomas Patchauker
  13. John Paul
  14. Abraham Simons
  15. Emanuel Simons
  16. James Simons
  17. John Skeesuck
  18. Benjamin Toucee
  19. Roger Wauby

“We Keep a Fire For the Dead”

“Nuwacônumumun yoht wáci napukak”

We keep a fire for the dead whose spirits walk before us

Who, shoes exchanged for eagle’s wings, now sing angelic chorus

Though they no longer walk the land in Brothertown today

Our hearts remain forevermore where’er our brethren lay

~Brothertown Citizen