Dawnland Voices: An Anthology of Indigenous Writing from New England Dawnland Voices discussion


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message 1: by Meghan (new)

Meghan Hill One of the most distinctive features of the Mohegan section of Dawnland Voices is the variety it contains. There are historical pieces that give insight into the tribe’s past, short stories and poems that offer a reflection on all facets of life, and a collection of recipes. Faith Damon Davison surrounds a collection of recipes with cultural context and historical background in her piece entitled “Mohegan Food.” While some may dismiss this collection as something that you could find in a cookbook, it is so much more. It offers insight into the culture and history of the Mohegan tribe. As Davison describes in her introduction to the collection: “We lived on the shore in the summer, so we even dried and smoked fish and shellfish to preserve them for the winter. This saltwater bounty contributed to the protein in our diet. We would plant even while reaping the river’s and ocean’s reward” (591). We can see the way that this lifestyle of working with the cycle of the seasons to survive from the number of seafood and corn based dishes in the collection of recipes. This collection of recipe gives a group of practical recipes and offers us insight into Mohegan culture.

message 2: by Meg (new) - rated it 4 stars

Meg I likewise found that the section of recipes stood out to me. It was really interesting learning about the foods they had and their general eating habits. In general, what struck me most in the Mohegan section was how much history there was. I'm not sure it was more prevalent than other sections, probably not, but here it definitely stood out to me, and I think that was largely because I was born and raised in Connecticut. In reading from the diaries of Joseph Johnson I found myself comparing his travels to different towns with how it would be like for me to drive to those towns myself, today, and when reading Joe Smith's "Fade into White" I found myself learning things about the origin of the town name Uncasville that I had never known. It put into sharp focus the issue of Native American education that was first addressed in relation to the state of Maine, and made me realize that Mohegans had (to my knowledge) never been talked about when I was in school.

Speaking of school, another aspect that really stood out to me in this section was in the biographies of the authors--several of them have college educations, and those who left home usually came back and have been involved in their community, or preserving Mohegan tradition in some way, such as Jayne Fawcett, Stephanie M. Fielding, Gladys Tantaquidgeon, Joe Smith, and more.

message 3: by Chris (new)

Chris Mulhern As a lover of food I thought the recipe section was one of the better ways to understand the tribe of the Mohegans. As food, preparation and ingredients, is very specific to regions and identities of different groups. They create a good bond between people as a shared culture, by having this section included it gave a good look into their past.
Though I also have to say that the journal of Joseph Johnson was also particularly interesting as it brought first hand experience to a time that Native Americans rarely are discussed. The journal entries are posted some years after the French-Indian war and just before the American Revolution. This would be a time where this group of people had lost one war only to be on the cusp of starting another war and wouldn't get the chance to take control of their future as they would have hoped. With the Revolutionary War on the horizon their causes would get pushed back even further as mentality that England controlling another populations land wouldn't be heard of by a number of the colonists.

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