STOCKBRIDGE — "Mohican Miles," a new exhibit celebrating the Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians' history and culture in its original homelands, opens Friday at the Trustees of Reservations Mission House Museum, 19 Main St.
The federally recognized tribal nation, based in Wisconsin and with origins in the Hudson and Housatonic River valleys, coordinated the exhibit with the Trustees. The semipermanent exhibit can be viewed by the public beginning Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and then ongoing during regular museum hours, also from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Mondays.
The exhibit includes an overview of Mohican history, the tribe’s historic relationship with the Trustees, information about the community today, the work of the Historic Preservation Office in the homelands, and displays of historic objects belonging to the tribe.
“We are excited that we have a place to call ours to tell our history, our way. The history that Mohican Nation has in Stockbridge is significant, and we are grateful to be able to tell it,” said Heather Bruegl, cultural affairs director for the Stockbridge-Munsee Community.
The tribe curated and designed the exhibit from the archives of the Arvid E. Miller Memorial Library Museum in Bowler, Wis., which houses the largest collection of Mohican documents and artifacts in the world.
Trudy Fadding, of Stockbridge, through a fellowship at Williams College, where the tribe maintains a Tribal Historic Preservation Extension Office, worked locally with the tribe’s office to develop the exhibit content.
As a result of an agreement with the Trustees, the Stockbridge-Munsee Community will maintain exhibit materials in the Carriage House, the separate exhibit room behind the Mission House, for at least the next four years.
The space formerly held many objects belonging to the Mohican people that were purchased by Mabel Choate, the founder of the Mission House. Recently, many of these same objects have been repatriated to the tribe, after nearly a century of separation.
The location of the exhibit on Main Street in Stockbridge also is "incredibly important to the tribe," Bruegl said. "It has been centuries since the tribe has had such a physical presence on this very historic location in the homelands, where many ancestors once walked, lived, led and learned."
The Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Nation moved to what are now the towns of Red Springs and Bartelme in Shawano County in Wisconsin, as a result of the Treaty of 1856. About half of the 1,500 members of the Stockbridge-Munsee Community currently live on or near the reservation, which has several thriving businesses, including the North Star Mohican Casino and Pine Hills Golf Course.
“As an organization, we are committed to the centering of Indigenous voices,” said Brian Cruey, Southern Berkshires Portfolio Director for the Trustees of Reservations. “We’re so grateful to the Stockbridge-Munsee Community for engaging with us and allowing us the room to learn and grow on this journey.”
More information: mohican.com.