MAHICAN. When Henry Hudson first met the Mahicans in 1609, the Eastern Algonquian-speaking tribe occupied both sides of the Hudson River from Catskill Creek to the mouth of Lake Champlain. By the end of the seventeenth century colonial pressures on their land and conflicts with the Mohawks forced the Mahicans to move eastward into the Berkshire Mountains, where they were joined by other Indians from the lower Hudson Valley. Others moved west to join Oneidas living at Oquaga,
New York, and the Delaware in the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania.
In the 1730s, led by the missionary John Sergeant, they founded a village at Stockbridge, where they remained until the 1780s. During the Revolutionary War, they fought on the side of the colonies; their loyalty was rewarded with the loss of their land at Stockbridge. They then moved to Oneida lands in New York, where they received a ten-mile-square tract. They were joined by a Delaware group from New Jersey called the Brotherton. Here they remained through the first two decades of the nineteenth century, when pressures from the state forced them to sell their lands in New York in violation of the Trade and Intercourse Acts. This time they moved to land held by the Munsee Delaware in Indiana. By the time they arrived, however, the land had been purchased by the United States, and they and the Munsee Delaware moved to the Lake Winnebago area in Wisconsin. There they came to be known as the Stockbridge-Munsee tribe. Their stay in the Lake Winnebago area was short. In 1843, the United States granted the tribal members citizenship and divided the land in severalty. While some of the tribe accepted the act, many refused and eventually were given land in Shawano County, Wisconsin, where they now reside.
The tribe re-established itself and under the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act is federally recognized. The Mahicans are governed by an elected council that administers a 46,080-acre reservation, of which approximately 15,000 acres are in trust.
Brasser, T. J. "Mahican" In Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 15: Northeast. Edited by Bruce G. Trigger. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1978.
Frazier, Patrick. The Mohicans of Stockbridge. Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1992.
See alsoIndian Trade and Intercourse Act ; Tribes: Northeastern .
The Mahican (River Indians, Canoe Indians), together with the Wappinger, lived along the Hudson River in eastern New York from Lake Champlain to Manhattan Island and eastward to the Housatonic Valley in Massachusetts and the Connecticut River in Connecticut. Descendants of these groups now live on the Stockbridge-Munsee Indian Reservation in Wisconsin and in the Brotherton Indian Community in Winnebago and Calumet counties, Wisconsin. They spoke Algonkian languages. The Stockbridge-Munsee number about one thousand, and the Brotherton Community numbers about three hundred, with the traditional culture and language essentially extinct.
Brasser, T. J. (1978). "Mahican" In Handbook of North American Indians. Vol. 15, Northeast, edited by Bruce G. Trigger, 198-212. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.
Ma·hi·can / məˈhēkən/ (also Mo·hi·can) • n. 1. a member of an American Indian people formerly inhabiting the Upper Hudson Valley in New York. Compare with Mohegan. 2. the Algonquian language of this people. • adj. of or relating to the Mahicans or their language.