Full version of 2016 story - Basis for abstract version:
Our Origin and Disappearance:History as Remembered, Seen and Told by Tunxis M'heakanuck
The migration of the M’hicanuk, their settlement along the M’hicanituk, their expansion over 10,000 years, their hiding right out in the open in order to survive to fulfill their mission with the European immigrants and almost total disappearance.
Written when most are still hiding right out in the open under the total surveillance of the dominant culture.
It was a hot summer night in ’72. We were playing blackjack with my mother-in-law Frankie. She was winning as usual. Good thing we were playing with her pennies. Made the game friendly.
About 2 am she started naming her late husband’s siblings. There were the 3 Lucy had with Larkin Dixon. Then there was Truc, Muddie, Dickie, Freddie, Bill, Barney, Frank, Jerry, John, Cliff, Margaret … all children of Lucy and Reuben. Then there were Reuben’s children by other women. Frankie named 34 in all. She said there were others but she couldn’t remember their names. And we didn’t think to write them down, not realizing Frankie would leave us within 6 months.
The number 34 has significance. There were 34 different nations represented by the signers of the Treaty of Farmington of 1640, all living as Tunxis. These included the Six Nations and other related peoples, four Dakota/Lakota/Nakota nations [Santee, Teton, Yankton, etc.], Ute, Piute, Shoshone, Dine, etc., as well as other Algonquin peoples. There were 34 images on the two totem poles standing on the bank of the Tunxis Sepoo. And 34 is my number.
Fast forward twenty years.
Ben, a Montauk cousin, handed us a one sheet pamphlet, printed in Utah, that said the Tunxis were extinct, had been for over 350 years. But the paper noted the Tunxis were a very important people.
This is the tale of how we came to be and how we disappeared.
The Island Continent
North America has been home to the Algonkian and other indigenous people for tens of thousands of years.
Long ago, when Canada was warm, the M'heakannuck were neighbors with the Onondaga and the Woolly Mammoth.
About 30,000 years ago, as the numbers of all three groups increasingly grew, the M'heakannuck decided to migrate southeast to an island continent in the Atlantic, commonly referred to today as Atlantis.
The Atlanteans had a highly spiritually organized civilization which in time became very technically advanced. Global communication and travel was the norm. People living on Earth now are beginning to reach the levels of this culture in many ways. This civilization, however, also came to experience issues similar to those faced today. Some people did not respect the free expression of others, some were devoid of compassion and some did not respect Mother Earth.
There was disagreement over the use of the power source, the giant crytals whose energy was harnessed for communication, transportation, etc. Atlantis had two major periods of physical upheaval as a result of this disharmony before it finally sank beneath the waves about 12,500 years ago.
People had advance warning through dreams and predictions of wise ones that the land would be submerged although there was disagreement as to if this would indeed happen. [Sound familar?] Advance people were sent out to find suitable places to which to relocate. A number of such places were found and our people chose the M'heakannituck for it was like the river along which we lived, having similar traits, such as being tidal with currents running in many directions. Our river was called the M'heakannituck, so named for we are people who ebb and flow.
Return to mainland North America
We packed up as much as we could in a short time: books, tools, instruments, seeds, plants, etc., loaded everything aboard ships, said our goodbyes to those staying behind, and flew to the mouth of the M'heakannituck. We settled on the Palisades on the west bank for we knew the waters would rise.
We built dwellings and store houses, planted vegetable and flower gardens, as well as trees, explored our new home seeds planted and the changes coming were contemplated. We were the followers of the One.
One day it happened.
There were terrible earthquakes, violent thunder storms and high winds for hours, maybe days.
Then all went silent. The rains came. It rained for many days. The land mass shrank as the waters rose. The low lands, lower Manhattan, M'merrick [Long Island], and Watuk [Staten Island] were submerged. As the waters receded they became the islands we know today. The power source was gone. The ships no longer worked. Communication with others around the world was no more. The M'hiacanuck were alone.
We saw the sun again. Life went on but very differently. The emotional trauma and energetic devolution wiped out much of the memory of the way things were before. Very few remained sufficiently evolved to remember more than what was needed for basic daily survival. There was no hope of communicating with those in other parts of Earth. We had to reinvent ourselves by ourselves.
With much trial and error, we recreated ways of surviving, living, even prospering.
The M’hiacanuck were tasked with remembering. It was realized that new ways of remembering and recording history had to be created, as well as passing the stories on to future generations until the day when, once again, a similar time and choice would present itself. The position of story teller became very important. Stories were recorded on “story sticks” which resemble condolence canes. M'hiacanuk also began to recite their history together as a people twice a year. This continued up into modern times when it was decided it was too dangerous to continue this due to increasing surveillance.
Our present system of governing developed in the manner it has because of the abrupt devolution in human nature. Previously, roles were not gender based. Even though women physically bore the children, this was a greatly shared process. Now, however, men were so totally devasted, they were generally without internal motivation to overcome the emotional trauma and the changed environment. Women had their maternal instincts, the physical presence of growing fetuses to push them on in spite of the devastation, as well as slight differences in design which proved beneficial. Women became, by default, the deciders and men evolved into the doers. Women selected the leaders, initially cajoling, prodding, and encouraging them to handle the day to day responsibilities of daily and future survival, individually and collectively. Women cared for the land and the homes, raising the food and the children. Eventually, artistic and other skills were relearned and ways of passing these from one generation to the next re-evolved.
Four councils were formed: the Children's council, the Women's council, the Young Men's council [Warriors'] and the Elders [Older Men]. A person is born into the Children's council. When a boy demonstrates he has mastered certain things, he is invited to join the Young Men's [Warrior] council, usually as he enters the teen years.
When a girl shows certain maturity, she is invited to join the Women's circle, sometimes as young as 7, usually by 13 or 14 years.
When a Warrior shows less inclination for fighting and increasing signs of wisdom, he is invited to sit in the Elders' council.
Each council selects its own leader.
Consensusbecame the rule as a way to prevent the disharmony which had led to the loss of homes and relatives. When an issue arose, each council meets to discuss the matter. Meetings are adjourned for individual consideration when areas of disagreement are recognized. As people feel ready, councils are reconvened. The process continues until consensus is reached. When each group reaches consensus, all four councils are called together to discuss it. After many such gatherings, a consensus is reached among all the people. This decision is then pronounced by the Sagamore and becomes the accepted practice.
Each village selectes 3 persons to be responsible for day to day collective activities. Their primary responsibilities are to see that all are fed, sheltered and clothed.
The Sagamore [Peace] is additionally responsible for keeping the goods shared in common safe and secure. All gifts to the Sagamore are held to be used for future needs of the people. The Sagamore owns only his own clothes and tools. He is also reponsible for pronouncing collective decisions.
The Owaya Sagamore [M'hooquepau - High Warrior] has ultimate responsibility in times of external threats and for dealing with outsiders. He has authority to make decisions affecting all outside the consensus process. He is often the leader of the Warrior's council
The M'hooquethoth is advisor to, and spokesperson for, the Sagamores and the people. He advises the Sagamores when matters need to be considered and calls the councils to meet.
All three leaders have the authority to declare war and make peace.
Ways of remembering were pondered for it was in the commn memory that we were charged with remembering what had happened so that at a time in the distant future this trauma would be avoided and not repeated. Story telling became a very important activity and the story teller an important position. Each village began to recite our history twice a year. Up until the 1950s, M'heakannuk still gathered twice a year to recite family history.
In time, the making and keeping of story sticks developed. These have the appearance of condolence canes. Each item on the stick recalls a story. The Tunxis story sticks disappeared in 1967 during the funeral of the Sagamore Barney Lewis in the Bronx. Some thought they were taken by a common thief. Others thought it was the government. This was bittersweet as only one person alive then knew had to read them. And he had a photographic memory so he didn't really need them. But their contents are lost now to all save those who talk with those in spirit.
M'hiacanuk recognize humans are spiritual beings here temporarily.
The clan system developed.
Clans cross village and national bounds.
The wolf clan were the ones who advanced north up the M'heakannituck as the ice melted with Nu Schodack [Our Fireplace] moving gradually north as the north-south center of the people. Nu Schodack was at the half way point north-south, just southeast of modern day Albany, at the beginning of the European influx in the early 1600s.
The people of the east, the bird clans, spread along what is now called the New England Coast, eventually reaching the MicMac who are still living where they had been when the M'heakannuck left Canada for Atlantis. The MicMac had survived the ice in protected valleys and pockets.
Many thousand of years ago, there was a major disagreement between the wolf clan and the bird clans but most have forgotten what it was about. Many have forgotten that they are, in fact, closely related, although this was well known in the 1600s as those in the "Boston" area were in daily communication with those in the "New Amsterdam" area and those living at Nu Schodack via runners.
A more recent but still ancient disagreement is between the Shawano and the rest of the M'heakannuck over the form the deity takes. The Shawano favored a Grandmother/Grandson expression whlle others preferred to see the deity as a single male Spirit, Gitchie Manitou/Kitchie Manitou, aka, the Great Spirit [Bactamo in Esopus]. So, the Shawano took to traveling without a permanent home, while most M'heakannuck have an annual circuit of locations visited.
The bear clan became the medicine clan, the clan from which leaders were selected for they had the genetic makeup and traits to be able to remember more easily, and to use the memories inherited. These include healing abilities, telepathy, intuition, heightened physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual awareness, knowledge of relationships between plants and animal, in fac all living, walking between worlds, walking with a foot in each world, shifting centers of consciousness, etc.
The center of the M'heakanuck has always been our council fire, Nu Schodack, which means our fire place, the place of our council fire. Nu Schodack was originaaly on the Palisades when we returned to mainland North America 12,500 years ago. As the ice receded and the M'heakanuck migrated north along the M'heakanituck, Nu Schodack was periodically moved. The first move was to what is present day Yonkers. As M'heakanuck grew in numbers and migrated further north, Nu Schodack was also periodically moved north so that it was the north-south center of the M'heakanuck, with large groups living on either side of the M'heakanituck
The people who live at Nu Schodack are called M'heakanuck and are known as M'hican proper. Those M'heakanuck who live elsewhere, that is they don't live at Nu Schodack, are called by other names which are usually also the names of their villages.
There came a time, when Nu Schodack was located at what is now Kingston, NY, before the Five Nations of the Haudenosaunee [Mohawk, Oneida, Onodaga, Cayuga, Seneca] decided to unite and be peaceful, when food and people were plentiful. Esopus, originally the Munsee rabbit clan who had split off due to increased population lived in the same area, along the Esopus Creek. It was decided that some M'hican proper families and some Esopus familes would move to a river to the east, that was about half way between the mouth of the M'heakannituck and what is now Boston, Massachusetts. They became the Tunxis nation, aka the Watunxis Esopus on the Watunxis Sepoo, now called the Farmington River in Farmington CT, near the Pequabuck.
Mohawk Trail: Schadawadie was a Mohawk subchief when the Five Nations of the Haudenosaunee first decided to be peaceful. He was given the task of offering peace to all the other Haudenosaunee people, such as the Wyndent, Eire, Petun, Neuters and others such as the Odawa and Susquehannock. All the nations he visited accepted the offer of peace. He returned to the Five Nations and the Mohawks were very happy. They met with the Grand Council. The Haudenosaunee changed their mind. Schadawadie slit his throat and his entire family went to live with the Tunxis. This was the beginning of the Mohawk Trail.
This is also how the M'heakannuck learned the Haudenosaunee method of offering peace to their neighbors. The Five Nations emissary would offer peace to the leader of another nation three times. If the leader refused, the third time he would be killed. Therefore, the M'heakannuck never left their Sagamores unprotected in the presence of Five Nations' emissaries and usually killed the emissary on the first offer of peace.
Tunxis extinction: hiding right out in the open
At the signing of the Treaty of Farmington in 1640 [when Petrus (M'hicanu) and Ahamo (Esopus) were Sagamores] there were signers from 34 different nations all living with the Tunxis, as Tunxis, including Seequehenni of the Onondaga Eel clan. Other nations represented include Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, Eire, Neuters, Ottawas, Petuns, Wyndent, Quinnipiac, Shawnee, Dine, Santee, Teton, Yankton, Ute, Piute, Shoshone, etc.
People in Farmington, CT speak of Ed Kelley as the last full blooded Tunxis but there never was a "full" blooded Tunxis in the sense they mean. All M'heakannuck are full blooded, however, unless they have been recently injured or have donated.
There is a monument in Riverside Cemetery in Farmington, CT that allegedly all the Tunxis are buried under. It was built while the Sagamore was in jail and the Tunxis were camped around the jail waiting for the Sagamore's release.
Ottawa [Odawa] traders - traveled from the Great Lakes to the Florida Keys and back every year
Governor Lovelace Treaty
Francis Lovelace (circa 1621–1675) was an English Royalist and the second Governor of New York colony 1668-1673
The third new Governor of New York after Francis Lovelace was John Lovelace, 4th Baron Lovelace of Hurley, March 1708 – 6 May 1709
The Lovelace Treaty is one of the few treaties actually observed until presnt times. It is observed by the state of Virginia.
Southern territorial bounds: the Raritan.
Spelling:You may have noticed variations in spelling.
Much of this information was never written down anywhere until the 1990s. We have been hiding right out in the open since the 1600s.
It was decided to spell M'hican the way it is said phonetically:
Muh-hea-kan-nuck. This is the legal spelling.
We commonly spell it the way it is heard: M'hicanuk or
M'hiacanuck, the way it is said.
One of the reasons people may feel challenged in learning the M'hicanu language is the ears of english speaking persons only hear about half the sounds.
Bend in the River, Tunxis