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American Tribes

In America the term ‘Indian’ refers to the original inhabitants of North America before settlers from Europe arrived. An Indian tribe is a group of individuals belonging to the same or related races living together in one community under a common leadership. Legends about the spirituality and environmental wisdom of these Indian tribes abound.

The Golden Hill Tribe of Paugussett Indians is one such tribe, officially recognized by the US state. The Paugussett Indians, then about 1.5 million strong, were among the first original inhabitants of North America to greet early European settlers on arrival. The Colonists learnt many skills from these Indian tribes who also influenced their lifestyles and values. This Indian tribe played a major role in the introduction of important agricultural products like maize, tobacco, potato and chocolate to the modern world.

The typical settlement of the early Colonists had a green area in the middle where the planting was done. Their townships consisted of houses and a common building that served both as a town hall for meetings and as a church. The area surrounding these settlements was generally considered as belonging to the entire community that anyone could use for felling timer or for use as farms or as pasture.

The Paugussett Indian tribe comes from such an area on Housatonic and Naugatuck Rivers in Connecticut, which was shifted to a reservation. Their complaint against this shifting resulted in a hearing in Hartford in 1659, but the Indians were not heard by the court, which declared that the settlers had the right to take over Paugussett Indian lands.

In return, the Indians were given 80 acres of land known as the ‘Golden Hill’, and in the course of time the Paugussett Indians became known as Golden Hill Indians. This area developed into the bustling trading town of Bridgeport, CT and the ‘Golden Hill’ is now part of downtown Bridgeport.

The Golden Hill Tribe of Paugussett Indians is now seeking recognition from the Federal Government and a settlement of their land claims. Such recognition and settlement will bring financial strength and give the tribe access to healthcare and education programs and housing.

The tribe will then be able to build a reservation large enough to house all its members, now scattered as minority groups in different parts of the State of Connecticut and in Connecticut City. This will enable the tribe to bring up children in their ancestral tradition, and pass on their cherished heritage to the coming generations.



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