1929:Prior to her death on July 15, 1929, Alice Melinda Storey appointed her son, John Hamilton, Grand Sachem of the Mohegans. Alice Story was at that time known as the Queen of the Mohegans, and was a direct descendant of Uncas, acknowledged leader of the Mohegan Indian Tribe during the "Pequot War" of 1637, and thereafter.
1933:John Hamilton's title as Grand Sachem was affirmed as "Sachem for Life" by the Officers of Tribal Council of Mohegan Indians on November 18, 1933.
1936: Tribal Council affirms Hamilton's title as "Sachem for Life." Courtland Fowler (later leader of MTIC) votes in the affirmative and supports Hamilton's leadership role through the late 1960's.
1933-1968: Hamilton's leadership is recognized and accepted by Mohegans residing in Connecticut. (No opposition group identified during this time frame.)
Late 1960's: Hamilton's leadership exercised through the "Council of Descendants of Mohegan Indians," with about 300 members. The Council authorizes Hamilton to act on its behalf on matters involving the State of Connecticut, including a land claim suit filed under the Non-Intercourse Act.
1970: Faction of Mohegans in Council dissatisfied with land claim suit seeks to elect new leader. Hamilton rejects this faction's asserted authority to replace him and leaves with his followers before a vote. About a dozen or less remaining in the room elect Courtland Fowler as their leader (Fowler Faction).
1970's: John Hamilton continues to take the lead in pursuing land claim suit on behalf of the Mohegans and in retaining counsel. He is supported by the Mohegans in this activity. No Mohegan is excluded from traditional activities of the Tribe by virtue of allegiance either to Hamilton or to Fowler during this time frame.
1977: "The Mohegan Tribe," acting through John Hamilton, files land claim suit in federal court in Connecticut against the state.
1978: John Hamilton files a petition with BIA seeking federal acknowledgement and recognition of "the Mohegan Tribe" by the U.S. Government. Both the land claim suit and the petition are filed by Attorney Jerome Griner taking direction from Hamilton.
1970-1979: Fowler faction opposes land claim suit and 1978 acknowledgement petition.
1979-1981: Because of its opposition to the land claim suit and the acknowledgement petition, the Fowler faction organizes as "Mohegan Tribal Council" and adopts new constitution in 1980.
ca. 1980: Attorney Griner ceases taking direction from Hamilton, does not notify the court or the BIA, and begins to take direction from the Fowler faction.
July 1981: Hamilton discharges Griner and then retains separate counsel, Robert Cohen to proceed on the land claim suit and the 1978 acknowledgement petition.
ca. 1984: The Fowler Faction replaces the 1980 Fowler Faction Constitution and renames itself the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut (MTIC).
1985: Griner files detailed documentation in support of the 1978 acknowledgement petition on behalf of "the Mohegan Tribe, petitioner." Griner submits MTIC roll of 1,017 members, stating that the roll relied on lists of Mohegans prepared by the State of Connecticut. The acknowledgement petition is placed on "active consideration" by the BIA.
ca. August 5, 1985: Connecticut State Attorney General Joe Lieberman files with the BIA a formal opposition to federal acknowledgement with the BIA. The State of Connecticut characterizes Hamilton/followers and Fowler/followers as two groups or factions of a single, unitary Mohegan Tribe. The Attorney General's report quotes from a member of the Fowler faction that as of 1979 the Fowler faction "admit they do not have a tribal organization because they are going 'to organize to form a tribal group for the sole purpose of combating John Hamilton."'
1988: John Hamilton dies. In his will Hamilton appoints Eleanor Fortin Grand Sachem of the Mohegan Tribe.
1988: Indian Gaming Regulatory Act signed into law. Permits federally recognized tribes to conduct Class III (slot machines) gaming on Tribal lands if a Tribe has a compact with the state.
1989: State of Connecticut seeks clarification of the circumstances under which both attorneys Griner and Cohen are making separate filings in the land claim suit on behalf of the "The Mohegan Tribe." The court never resolves this issue.
ca. November 9, 1989: BIA notices to the public its proposed petition rejection on the Mohegan Tribe acknowledgement request. The BIA determines that the Mohegan Tribe does not meet two criteria for federal acknowledgement during the time frame 1941 through 1989: (1) failure to demonstrate sufficient social community; and (2) failure to demonstrate sufficient political authority and influence.
1990: MTIC imposes new restrictions on membership qualifications. To be a member of MTIC one must be a lineal descendant of Francis Fielding and Rachel Hoscott, his wife (including an adopted granddaughter Amy Cooper). The MTIC maintains that the families of any and all Mohegans who lived during 1802-1862 (other than the family of Rachel Fielding) are extinct.
1990: MTIC purges its membership roll of approximately 118 persons who had been previously determined to be Mohegan. Nearly all of the 118 were members of the Fowler Faction, were recognized by the State of Connecticut as Mohegan and some qualified as members of Native American Mohegans.
Persons on the "List of 118", by virtue of their descent from individuals on the 1861 List or prior lists of Mohegan Indians prepared and used by the State of Connecticut, were Mohegan by standards known and employed in Mohegan tradition prior to 1990. The "List of 118" were nearly all members of the Fowler Factionís "Mohegan Tribal Council" organized under the 1980 Fowler Faction Constitution. Most if not all of the "List of 118" were recognized by the State of Connecticut as Mohegan Indians, as evidenced by their receipt of "cards" issued by the State of Connecticutís Indian Affairs Council so stating.
Among these purged, former members of the MTIC, for example, was Stilson Sands. Mr. Sands was designated by the Fowler Faction to be the Mohegan Tribeís representative, and was accepted by the State of Connecticut, to sit as the sole Mohegan spokesman, on the State of Connecticutís Indian Affairs Council.
1986-1990: Hamilton and Fortin lead an organization of approximately 500 members who share Mohegan ancestry, community and traditions and identifies themselves as Mohegans. Many of these individuals (including Daigle, Sweet and Cook) cannot qualify for membership in MTIC because they are not lineal descendants of Rachel Fielding (or Amy Cooper). Prior to 1970, the Council Hamilton led had approximately 300 members.
1990: After BIA's proposed rejection, MTIC sends letters to certain "followers of John Hamilton" (who had to be a lineal descendant of Rachel Fielding or Amy Cooper) asking them to join it. It is presumed that this letter is sent only to members of the Baker family who for the most part had not joined MTIC although they were descendants of Rachel Fielding. MTIC offers to share the benefits from the land claim suit as an inducement to join.
October, 1990: Attorney Cohen submits to BIA a detailed response to the proposed petition rejection. Materials from Hamilton that had not previously been provided are submitted that cover social and political activity from 1941-1988.
1980's- 1994 (federal acknowledgement): No Mohegan Indian is excluded from participation in traditional events by virtue of association with either Hamilton or Fowler.
1993: Eleanor Fortin, in her capacity as Tribal leader, files a notice of intent to petition for acknowledgement and recognition for the Mohegan Tribe and Nation. BIA has continued to acknowledge that Fortin is the representative of petitioner, despite the controversy over control of the corporation name, Mohegan Tribe and Nation, Inc.
March, 1994: BIA reverses the proposed petition rejection and makes a final determination of recognition to the "Mohegan Tribe of Indians of the State of Connecticut." This is the final BIA action on the 1978 acknowledgement filing made by Griner on behalf of the "Mohegan Indians..." (BIA cites a different name in the acknowledgement than the name that appeared on the initial filing.) The BIA expressly relies on Hamilton's leadership and political activity in reversing the proposed adverse finding. The Hamilton materials submitted by Cohen provides critical evidence for BIA to reverse itself.
April - June, 1994: After the 1994 recognition decision, MTIC negotiates agreements with the State of Connecticut (a settlement agreement on the land claim suit and a gaming compact) and the Town of Montville, committing to seek federal legislation to ratify the state settlement and the town agreements. Under the legislation, all Mohegan land claims in Connecticut would be extinguished and agreed-upon land purchased by MTIC) would be transferred to the U.S. to be held in trust for the Mohegan Tribe.
ca. August, 1994: At Congressional hearings on the settlement legislation, BIA testifies that the proposed federal legislation would extinguish all Mohegan land claims. The Department of the Interior expresses uncertainty as to whether MTIC was the sole successor in interest of the aboriginal Mohegan Tribe in Connecticut. At this time Interior is aware that: (1) the 1993 acknowledgement filing was made by group of Mohegan Indians not members of the Fowler faction that later comprised MTIC; (2) Hamilton followers were a central part of the unitary Mohegan Tribe; (3) two different attorneys were involved in making filings for two distinct membership groups both before the BIA and in federal court in Connecticut; and (4) the gaming compact was made between the state and the "Mohegan Tribe" (not MTIC).
October 19, 1994: President signs into law the "Mohegan Nation of Connecticut Land Claims Settlement Act of 1994" (1994 Settlement Act) despite the Department of the Interior's expressed uncertainty over MTIC's status as sole legal successor in interest to the rights of the aboriginal Mohegan Indian Tribe. The 1994 Settlement Act requires publication of the "State Agreement" in the Federal Register for the Tribe's relinquishment to be effective, but this never takes place. The 1994 Settlement Act provides benefits to MTIC (one family of Mohegans) to the exclusion of Hamilton's followers and to the exclusion of the "list of 118", thereby enriching a group of people who had vigorously opposed Hamilton's recognition and land claim efforts.
September, 1994: Joseph Burns enters an appearance in the land claim suit as counsel and unilaterally changes the name of the plaintiff from "Mohegan Tribe" to "Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut."
December, 1994: Land claim suit dismissed. Stipulation for dismissal filed jointly by Burns (on behalf of MTIC) and the State of Connecticut. Dismissal occurs without any consultation whatsoever with or consent from Mohegan Indians who are not members of MTIC.
December, 1994: Interior approves the Gaming Compact between MTIC and the State of Connecticut. Interior fails to publish the April 1994 State Agreement pursuant to the 1994 Settlement Act.
1995: The U.S. accepts title to trust lands for the MTIC, declaring these lands to be the "initial reservation of the Mohegan Tribe." Since that time the MTIC Gaming Authority, has been operating the Mohegan Sun Casino on such lands. The economic benefits from this gaming operation are derived from the settlement of the land claims suit and federal acknowledgement and the exclusive license represented by the gaming compact.
July 8, 1996: MTIC filed a lawsuit in New London Superior Court to prevent any corporations from using the Mohegan name. On February 13, 2001, the Supreme Court of the State of Connecticut decided that MTIC could not prohibit other descendents of the historic Mohegan tribe from using the Mohegan name. The appellate court affirmed the trial courtís findings of fact that "(t)he incorporators of the Mohegan Tribe and Nation are Mohegan by virtue of ancestry.
1999: The Native American Mohegans filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. The defendants in the complaint were MTIC, the State of Connecticut, and the Federal Government seeking to remedy the legal wrong defendants caused NAM. The legal wrongs at issue are embodied in the enactment of federal legislation that defendants intended would effect the extinguishment of NAMís rights to pursue claims based on Mohegan aboriginal right and historic title to real property situated in the State of Connecticut. This federal legislation was promoted and its passage secured by the defendants, the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut and the State of Connecticut, with the intention of vesting exclusively in the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut.
MTIC and the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, the State of Connecticut and the United States of America moved to have the case dismissed on the grounds of the statue of limitations and sovereign immunity.
February 12, 2002: Judge Judy Arterton dismissed the case brought by NAM against MTIC, the State of Connecticut, and the Federal Government on the grounds of the statue of limitations and sovereign immunity.
June 10, 2002: Affidavit by former MTIC tribal member who was one of 118 tribal members removed from MTIC tribal roll in 1990, stating that he/she was invited to join MTIC by Jane Fawcett. After joining MTIC, this former MTIC Tribal Member attended meetings and suppers at the Mohegan Church and voted in elections and fulfilled the expectations and requisites expected of members. After being removed from tribal roll, this former member asked Ms. Fawcett why his/her genealogy was suddenly being questioned, he/she was told that a fire at the church destroyed his/her records. To the former memberís knowledge, a fire was never reported at the church.
June 12, 2002: Affidavit by former MTIC tribal member who was one of 118 tribal members removed from MTIC tribal roll in 1990, stating that when he/she was informed that his/her family was no longer considered Mohegan, he/she was further told by Paul Sturgis that they were thrown out because of their perceived relationship with John Hamilton and further told that nobody who followed Hamilton would ever be a member of his Tribe [MTIC].
June, 2002: The MTIC Tribal Council voted 5-4 to sue the Council of Elders in tribal court for acting inappropriately in deciding on several enrollment petitions. The membership of at least 115 of the tribe's approximately 1,500 members is in question even though they have evidence of their Mohegan ancestry.
Presently: Mohegan tribal member Grant Fox is circulating a petition to remove Tribal Councilors Roland J. Harris and Jayne Fawcett from office.
Fox said Harris, who served as tribal chairman from 1995 to 2000, should be ousted for using his office for personal gain in a 1998 business deal. The tribe's three-member ethics committee recently issued Harris a letter of reprimand based on Fox's complaint that Harris allowed McFarland Johnson, a surveying firm, to bypass the bidding process. In a cover letter that will accompany the recall petition, Fox says Harris accepted a kickback from the firm at the tribe's expense.
As for Fawcett, who was vice chairwoman under Harris and also serves as the tribe's ambassador, she "no longer represents the true heart, mind and spirit of the Mohegan people," according to Fox. Fawcett and Harris head a faction of councilors who voted recently to sue tribal elders over enrollment policies.