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Arts & Culture

Flying Bird's Diaries And Papers Come Home To The Mohegan Tribe

Portrait of "Flying Bird" Fidelia Fielding taken in 1902 in Mohegan, Connecticut
Courtesy of the Mohegan Tribe
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"Flying Bird" Fidelia Fielding, in a portrait taken in 1902 in Mohegan, Connecticut

The last fluent speaker of the Mohegan language, "Flying Bird" Fidelia Fielding, preserved her linguistic heritage in her extensive writings.

But Flying Bird’s writings have been separated from the tribe for years, in the possession of outside scholars, and even at one point nearly all lost in a fire.

Now, Flying Bird’s diaries and papers have finally come home.

This hour, we talk with Mohegan tribal Chief Lynn Malerba and Medicine Woman Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel, about the significance of these documents finally returning to the Mohegan nation. The tribe had asked Cornell University to return the documents, and they were finally transferred to the tribe earlier this month.

And we learn about the tribe’s extensive efforts to resurrect the Mohegan language, which hasn’t had a fluent speaker for more than 100 years. How will Flying Bird’s writings help this process of language restoration?

GUESTS:

  • Chief Mutáwi Mutáhash Dr. Lynn Malerba - Chief of Mohegan Tribe in Uncasville, Connecticut
  • Medicine Woman Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel- Medicine Woman for the Mohegan Tribe; she’s the author of an award-winning screenplay and play about "Flying Bird" Fidelia Fielding
  • Autumn Cholewa - Mohegan Language Apprentice

Learn more about Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel and Madeline Sayet's upcoming radio plays UP AND DOWN THE RIVER with HartBeat Ensemble.

Cat Pastor contributed to this show.

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Lucy leads Connecticut Public's strategies to deeply connect and build collaborations with community-focused organizations across the state.
Carmen Baskauf was a producer for Connecticut Public Radio's news-talk show Where We Live, hosted by Lucy Nalpathanchil from 2017-2021. She has also contributed to The Colin McEnroe Show.

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