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Mohicans reclaim a crucial piece of their ancestral lands

May 10, 2021 6:00 am

Kenneth C. Crowe II is reporting for the Times Union the Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of the Mohican Indians has regained ownership of a culturally significant 156 acres along the Hudson River that was deeded to a Dutch colonist 386 years ago. The Open Space Institute donated the Papscanee Island Nature Preserve to the Mohicans reestablishing that nation’s presence on a historically important location in its ancestral homeland. The Mohicans are based in Wisconsin after being forced westward by European settlers. “This is a significant part of our homeland. To be able to say it’s ours again is very cool,” said Heather Bruegl, cultural affairs director for the Stockbridge-Munsee Community. Papscanee Island is named for Papsickene, a Mohican sachem, who led the village at the site. His heirs signed a deed to the property turning it over to Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, a Dutch diamond merchant and member of the Dutch West India Company in 1637. The Mohicans take their name from their word for the Hudson River, the Mahhicannituck, which  means the “river that flows both ways” or the “waters that are never still.” The Mohicans have been active in their ancestral homeland along the Hudson River in New York State east into Massachusetts protecting culturally important sites and explaining their history and connection to the region. The Open Space Institute acquired Papscanee Island in the early 1990s to protect the culturally and environmentally critical lands from development from the nearby Port of Rensselaer to the north. The nature preserve is in East Greenbush, Rensselaer and Schodack off Route 9J and its hiking trails are administered by Rensselaer County. Read the full story in the Times Union.

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