New York land being returned to Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican people

Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 10:19 PM CDT
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BOWLER, Wis. (WSAW) - Papscanee island in New York, near Albany, that is being returned back to the Stockbridge-Munsee tribe. The parcel was controlled by Open Space, a land conservation group in New York. Then the group made the decision to give the land back to the Stockbridge-Munsee community. The land was named after Papscanee who was a sachem in the Stockbridge-Munsee community, is a place of strong historical value for the Mohican people.

“It’s a site that we have fought to protect before, now that it’s back in our ownership it’s very significant,” Stockbridge-Munsee community Director of Historical affairs Heather Bruegl said.

Right now about one-third of the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican people live in Bowler Wisconsin. Before that, the tribes were actually from the east coast, specifically in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut New Jersey, and Vermont.

“We settle along the Mahicantuck, which you know as the Hudson River. So that was part of our homelands and as part of forced migration we ended up here in Bowler Wisconsin,” Bruegl said.

There isn’t a specific goal the Mohican people have for Papscanee island right now. But they hope to use the land to teach people about the importance and the history of the Stockbridge-Munsee people.

“For the community there, maybe have signage put up so they can learn about the importance of our people in that area. Just because we’re here in Wisconsin doesn’t mean we disappeared we’re still here,” Bruegl said.

For more information on Papscanee island and the Stockbridge-Munsee history in that area click here.

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