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Local Indigenous Peoples

Link to A history of Connecticut's Golden Hill Paugussett tribe by Charles Brilvitch in the catalog
Link to The long journeys home : the repatriations of Henry 'Ōpūkaha'ia and Albert Afraid of Hawk by Nick Bellantoni in the catalog
Link to Connecticut's indigenous peoples : what archaeology, history, and oral traditions teach us about their communities and cultures by Lucianne Lavin in the catalog
Link to History of the Indians of Connecticut from the earliest known period to 1850 by John William De Forest in the catalog
Link to Map of Connecticut, circa 1625 : Indian trails, villages, sachemdoms by the Connecticut Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the catalog
Link to Rockshelters of southwestern Connecticut : their prehistoric occupation and use by Ernest A. Wiegand in the catalog
Link to Pequot Plantation : the story of an early colonial settlement by Richard A. Radune in the catalog
Link to Uncas : first of the Mohegans by Michael Leroy Oberg in the catalog
Link to Revenge of the Pequots : how a small Native American tribe created the world's most profitable casino by Kim Isaac Eisler in the catalog
Link to Native Memoirs from the War of 1812: Black Hawk and William Apess by Carl Benn in Freading
Link to The Pequots in southern New England : the fall and rise of an American Indian nation edited by Laurence M. Hauptman and James D. Wherry in the catalog
Link to The Life Of William Apess, Pequot by Philip F. Gura in Hoopla


Early Native American Settlements

Fairfield’s coastal geography and plentiful natural resources attracted humans for thousands of years before European settlers stumbled upon the “fair fields” that Native Americans called Uncoway. This area provided indigenous peoples with game, fish, abundant sweet water, and fertile land to cultivate. During the Late Woodland Period (1500-1650), Uncowas, Sasquas, Maxumux, and Pequonnocks—subdivisions of the Paugussett Indians—inhabited the coastal areas, locating their villages of wigwams along the inland waterways. Another clan of Paugussetts called the Aspetucks occupied land several miles further inland, in the area that is now Weston and Easton.

The Native American population of southern New England was probably quite large before contact with European explorers. However, in the early 1600s epidemics of smallpox, measles, and other diseases to which the natives had no immunity decimated their populations, possibly by ninety-five percent in this area. By the time English colonists arrived as settlers in the 1630s, the Paugussett villages in the lower Housatonic River Valley were small and scattered. The Paugussetts were not an aggressive people, and they did not resist the English moving onto their land as the Pequots of southeastern Connecticut had done.

Ironically, a swamp along Fairfield’s coast became the setting for the final, violent episode in the saga of the Pequot Indians, who fled their home territory in Mystic (Missituck), Connecticut, after the English massacred hundreds of women, children and older men by setting a village ablaze. The warriors were preparing to defend a fortification at another location on that fateful night of May 26, 1637. When they discovered the atrocity that had taken place in their village, shock and disbelief overwhelmed them and they fled westward, away from the territory of enemy Narragansetts and Mohegans, allies of the English. Continue readings from Fairfield Museum & History Center


Learn More About the History, Culture and Current Social Concerns of Native Peoples

Link to Celebrate Native American Culture Resource Guide
Link to Indigenous Medicine resource guide
Link to Native American Arts & Crafts resource guide
Link to Indian Child Welfare Act resource guide
Link to Indigenous American Mythologies Resource Guide
Link to Local Indigenous Peoples resource guide
Link to The Trail of Tears Resource Guide
Link to Native American Music Resource Guide
Link to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Resource Guide
Link to Indigenous American Cuisine Resource Guide
Link to The True Story of Pocahontas Resource Guide
Link to Navajo Code Talkers resource guide
Link to The Lost Children of the Residential School System Resource Guide
Link to The Pequot War Resource Guide
Link to Native American Heritage Month resource guide
Link to Native American Activism Resource Guide
Link to The Wounded Knee Massacre Resource Guide
Link to Pipelines on Tribal Land Resource Guide

Link to Indigenous American Heritage Resource Guide Series Homepage