Stockbridge Munsee Band
of Mohican Indians
The Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians is descended from a group of Mohicans (variously known as Mahikan, Housatonic and River Indians; the ancestral name Muh-he-con-ne-ok means “people of the waters that are never still”) and a band of the Delaware Indians known as the Munsee. The Mohicans and the Delaware, closely related in customs and traditions, originally inhabited large portions of what is now the northeastern United States. In 1734, a small group of Mohicans established a village near Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where they began to assimilate but were nonetheless driven out by Euro-Americans. In 1785 they founded “New Stockbridge” in upper New York State at the invitation of the Oneida Indians. Their new home, however, was on timber land sought after by non-Indian settlers.
In 1818, the band settled briefly in White River, Indiana, only to be again relocated. In order to relocate both the Stockbridge-Munsee and Oneida Indians, government officials, along with missionaries, negotiated the acquisition of a large tract in what is now Wisconsin. In 1834, the Stockbridge Indians settled there; two years later they were joined by some Munsee families who were migrating west from Canada and who decided to remain with the Stockbridge families. Together, they became known as the Stockbridge-Munsee Band. The tribe expanded its land base by obtaining 46,000 acres by treaty with their neighbors to the north, the Menominee Tribe. More pressure from the government resulted in more relocation – first in Kaukana, Wisconsin, and later to a community on the shores of Lake Winnebago that the tribe named Stockbridge.
By the terms of a new treaty with the federal government in 1856, the band moved to its present site in Shawano County. The General Allotment Act of 1887 resulted in the loss of a great deal of land by the Stockbridge-Munsee. In the Great Depression, the tribe lost yet more land. However, in the early 1930’s the Stockbridge-Munsee experienced a reawakening of their identity and began reorganizing. In 1932 they even took over the town council of Red Springs under the provisions of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, created an activist Business Committee and started to regain some of their land. The Secretary of the Interior affirmed the reservation in 1937.