Editorial: Women play important role in Mohegan Tribe

"Women have always played an important role in the Mohegan Tribe. So news last week that Lynn Malerba will be inducted as the Mohegan's new chief for life later this year really shouldn't have come as such a surprise.

But it did. Perhaps because until recently, contributions of the tribe's women, while monumental, have been relatively low profile.

It is the Mohegan ladies who produced the necessary documentation - birth announcements, wedding reception lists, church register and obituaries - that led to federal recognition in 1994. The tribe saw its original application denied when federal researchers couldn't document the Mohegan's social and political activities in the 1940s and 50s.

It turns out, the researchers had focused their efforts on the tribe's male leaders, while it was the women who held proof that Mohegans had been a cohesive unit for centuries.

At last Thursday's news conference at the Mohegan Church announcing the tribe's intention to name Ms. Malerba its new chief, she remarked on "the strong and active role" of Mohegan women over the years.

"The ladies sewing circle held in this very church," she said, "was really code for let's boss the men around.""

Get the Story:
Editorial: Hail Mohegan chief (The New London Day 3/7)

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