Memorial of Mohegan and Niantic Indians

To The Most Honorable General Assembly of The State of Connecticut, Convened at The City of New Haven in The Month of October 1784

The Tribe of Mohegan and Niantic sendeth Greeting


We entreat that of your clemencies, you would hear us a few words.

The great, the good, and the Supreme Spirit above, made the great world, and divided it by the great waters, and this boundless continent he enclosed by itself, and he filled it with innumerable and all sorts of creatures.  The land was stored with all manner of four footed creatures both great and small, and the air was filled full with variety of fowl of all sizes and colours, and our wild land was heavy loaded with all manner of wild fruit, and our seas, pond or lakes, rivers and brooks were brimful of all sorts of fish of all bigness, even our sand and mud were well stored with shell fish, beside the creeping shell fish.  And in this rich and well-furnished world, the good Governor of the Universe, he that orders all things and all creatures according to his good pleasure, saw fit to plant our forefathers here first, and here we have lived and spread over the continent, none knows how long. And in process of time, it pleased him to send your forefathers into this country, and here they found us a wild people in a wild country. Yet we immediately entered into strong friendship, and sold your fathers lands for small matter, and gave them some freely, and they reserved but very little land for themselves, they thought or had a notion to live always as they done.  And here we have lived together like brothers almost two hundred years; but hunting, fishing and fowling we never have alienated, that our fathers reserved for themselves and for their children, and it is our birth right and that is now all gone, but little fishing and fowling and we never have sold it, and we have enjoyed it but at this time of the day some white people have presumed to forbid us of fishing in certain places especially in Connecticut River; which we take to be very unfriendly and wrong usage.  You may forbid one another or make what laws you please amongst yourselves; that is none of our business.  Yet we think it is unnatural for rational creatures to forbid one another of that privilege, which God has made common for all mankind; but be pleased to remember, that we are Indians, the aboriginal natives of this country.  And therefore, our most humble petition and request to this most benevolent Assembly is that we may have protection, that we may not be molested or be deprived of these our privileges, by any contentious people.  This is the petition and request of your old true friends.

Mohegans and Niantics1

We send this by our beloved brother, Philip Occuish

Mohegan, October 24, 1784

Legislative Action:

In the Upper House, on this memo granted as resolved that the provisions and regulations of the law entitled an Act for Encouraging and Regulating Fisheries, shall not be construed or understood to hinder or restrain

the Indians of the Mohegan and Niantic Tribes from using and drawing of one seine only for taking of fish in or near the mouth of Connecticut River in the same manner as they might lawfully and of right do, before the making and passing the said regulations, and that a bill, etc.  Test, George Wyllys, Secretary.  Concurred in the Lower House, Test, James Hillhouse, Clerk. /  Mohegan and Niantic Indians Memorial / October 1784 / Passed Upper House / Passed Lower House / Entered



  • 1. Although unsigned, this document was written by Mohegan minister, Samson Occom.