The Mohican Tribe Opens Its Historic Preservation Office in Troy, New York

On August 12, 2015 the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, Band of Mohican Indians opened its New York Tribal Historic Preservation Office in the City of Troy.  The office is hosted by The Sage Colleges.  The Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO), Bonney Hartley, is working directly out of this office, facilitating the many reviews and consultations in archaeology and historic preservation that the Mohican tribe undertakes as part of the Section 106 (National Historic Preservation Act) process.  Without this office, the location of the Mohican tribe in Wisconsin has made frequent travel to New York necessary.

The well-attended event was opened and described by Sage Colleges President Susan Scrimshaw and THPO Bonney Hartley.  Troy Mayor Lou Rosamilia welcomed the Mohican tribe to its new office in Troy, and a greeting, message, and dialog with the audience were provided via Skype (due to an airline flight delay) by Tribal Council Vice-President Gregory Miller and Historic Preservation Manager Sherry White.  In addition, archaeological consultant Ann Morton spoke about her recent excavation in Troy and transferred the archaeological collection from this work to the Mohican Tribe for curation.

The opening of this office is a tremendous development in the presence of the Mohican tribe in its historic homeland in the Hudson valley.  The very name of the Mohicans is related to the word for the Hudson River in the Mohican language, Muhheakunnuk, which refers to the fact that the Hudson is a tidal river (As discussed by 1700s Mohican historian Hendrick Aupaumut, quoted by Shirley Dunn in her book The Mohicans and Their Land 1609-1730).  

The opening of the Mohican Tribal Historic Preservation Office will close the physical distance between the THPO and the ancestral Mohican sites. It will amplify and communicate the significance of the sense of place.  It will facilitate consultation meetings which often take place in the Albany-Troy vicinity, such as in nearby government offices at Peebles Island and Watervliet.  In my humble opinion, when Cultural Resource Management (CRM) projects and historic preservation reviews are conducted in the Hudson valley, this new venture of the Mohican tribe will promote a greater mindfulness of the diverse nature of cultural resources and the importance of archaeological site preservation.