Reconnecting with Family Roots
The Brothertown Indian Tribe (Eeyamquittoowauconnuck) was formed from six New England tribes that joined together in the late 1700’s after their numbers had greatly decreased. Many had been lost fighting in support of the colonists against Great Britain in the Revolutionary War of 1776. Later they were forced to move five times over several decades, since they were not considered ”citizens,” and settled in Wisconsin and formed the community of Brothertown. In 1835 were “granted” US citizenship with the promise of being able to hold title to their land. Further issues threatened their tribal existence, but they still maintain a foothold in the community they established and in the surrounding region.
The grandfather of Fairy’s mother, Mayetta Skeesuck Steffen was George Skeesuck, a Brothertown tribal member with roots in the Narraganset tribe from New England. They had moved from Brothertown to Minnesota and hidden their Native American identity for fear of being sent to reservations against their will. Since this heritage was discovered by Skeesuck descendants, they have been able to join the Brothertown Tribe after their lineage was properly documented.
We recently had the privilege of visiting the community center located near Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where Fairy and family are confirmed tribal members.