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Native Languages of the Americas:
Mohegan (Pequot, Montauk, Niantic, Metoac)

Language: The two Algonkian languages Mohegan and Mahican are related and have similar names, but are linguistically distinct. The Mohegan language was once spoken by several allied tribes, including the Pequots, Montauks, and Niantics. A third language, Narragansett, was spoken by two other tribes, the Narragansetts and the Nipmucs; this language may have been distinct or may have been a dialect of Mohegan or Massachusett. None of these languages is still spoken natively today, but the Mohegan and Pequot tribes are working actively to revive their shared language.



People: The name "Mohegan" probably originally referred to a particular Pequot clan, which eventually fought its way to control of the Pequot Nation. Today, however, it is used as a broad rubric referring to several originally distinct eastern tribes: the Pequot, the Montauk (Metoac), the Narragansett, the Shinnecock, the Niantic, and the Nipmuc, among others. This would all be confusing enough without James Fenimore Cooper's book "Last of the Mohicans," which incorrectly merges the Mahicans and Mohegans into a single, extinct tribe. In fact neither group is extinct, and though they are kinfolk, the similarity between their names is due to coincidence and European mispronunciation--"Mahican" comes from the word Muheconneok, meaning "people of the Hudson River," and "Mohegan" comes from the word Mahiingan, "wolf." Today there are about 5000 Mohegan Indians in southern New England, counting the Pequots, Montauks, and Narragansetts together, and another 3000 Mahicans.

History: The Pequot, Montaukett, Narragansett, Niantic, Nipmuc, Shinnecock, and other tribes referred to indiscriminately as "Mohegan" in history texts were originally distinct tribes, each with several autonomous bands. However, due to heavy population losses and aggressive colonial expansion, the Indian tribes of New England were scattered, merged, and assimilated to such a degree that they lost their languages and much of their individual tribal characters. Though the Mohegan tribes for the most part quietly assimilated into New England society, they never gave up their Indian identity, and have retained several small reservations in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Long Island. In recent years the Connecticut Pequot and Mohegan tribes have become some of the wealthiest Native American bands due to successful management of tribal casinos.


Mohegan Language Resources
Mohegan language samples, articles, and indexed links.

Mohegan Culture and History Directory
Information and links about the Mohegan tribe.

Mohegan Indians Fact Sheet
Our answers to frequently asked questions about the Mohegan Indians, their language and culture.

Mohegan Legends
Introduction to Mohegan and Pequot Indian mythology.

Related Culture and History Directories:
Pequot Tribe, Montauk Tribe, Niantic Tribe, and Shinnecock Tribe
Information and links about other Mohegan-speaking Algonquian tribes.

Related Facts For Kids:
Pequot Indians, Montauk Indians, Niantic Indians, and Shinnecock Indians
Our answers to frequently asked questions about other Algonquian tribes known as Mohegans.



Mohegan Language Resources

Our Online Mohegan Language Materials

Mohegan/Pequot Vocabulary:
    List of vocabulary words in the Mohegan/Pequot language, with comparison to words in other Algonquian languages.
Mohican vs. Mohegan:
    Comparison of vocabulary words in the Mohegan and Mohican languages.
Mohegan Pronunciation Guide:
    How to pronounce Mohegan words.
Mohegan Animal Words:
    Illustrated glossary of Mohegan-Pequot animal words.
Mohegan Colors:
    Worksheet showing color words in Mohegan.
Mohegan Body Parts:
    Online and printable worksheets showing parts of the body in Mohegan.
Mohegan Numbers:
    Worksheet showing how to count in Mohegan.
Mohegan Animate Nouns:
    Lesson on Mohegan animate and inanimate nouns.
Mohegan Possession:
    Lesson on the use of Mohegan possessive prefixes.

Mohegan Dictionaries, Audio Tapes and Language Resources

A Vocabulary of Mohegan-Pequot:
    Mohegan glossary for sale.
Native American Language Dictionaries:
    Mohegan and other American Indian dictionaries and language materials.

Mohegan Language Lessons and Linguistic Descriptions

A Modern Mohegan Dictionary:
    Dictionary of the Mohegan language, reconstructed from the notes of the last fluent speaker.

Mohegan Language Preservation and Usage

Dreaming a Language Back to Life * Mohegans Revive Heritage Through Language:
    Tribe to Revive Nearly Lost Language * Mashantucket Pequots Seek to Reclaim Language * Shinnecock Language Tool:
    Articles about Mohegan, Shinnecock and Pequot language revival in Connecticut and New York.
Shinnecock Indian Names:
    This article has not only ethnological information about the Shinnecocks, but a list of place names and some basic vocabulary.
Mohegan-Montauk-Narragansett:
    Demographic information about Mohegan from the Ethnologue of Languages.
Mohegan-Montauk-Narragansett Language Tree * Mohegan-Pequot Language Tree:
    Theories about Mohegan's language relationships compiled by Linguist List.

Additional Resources, Links, and References

   La Lengua Mohegan:
   Bibliography of Mohegan-Pequot language materials from the Mashantucket Pequot Museum.
   La Lengua Mohegan:
   Article on the Mohegan language in Spanish. With a language map.
   Mohican Language:
   Mohican and Mohegan links.
  Mohegan Tribe:
  Mohegan Indian books.



Learn more about the Mohegan Indian tribe
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