A Mohegan- Pequot Diary
A Mohegan- Pequot Diary
Fidelia Fielding (1827 – 1908) was the last fluent speaker of the Mohegan language. She lived in Mohegan all of her life, and was known to keep to herself. She was very loyal to her Mohegan culture and traditions, and was also the last Mohegan known to live in the traditional style log dwelling.
Fidelia became acquainted with the anthropologist Frank Speck when he visited Mohegan while doing research on "dying languages" as a student at Columbia. Fidelia appreciated the fact that he was interested in the Mohegan language, as many of the young people were not, and she provided him with some of her Mohegan diaries. Although many of these diaries were lost in a fire, after Fidelia’s death, the others were donated to Speck by John Fielding, her adopted son. Speck transcribed and translated the diaries, and later published this material in his "Native Tribes and dialects of Connecticut: a Mohegan-Pequot diary." Forty-Third Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology. These diaries are now available online, and the originals are at the Kroch Library at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
Stephanie Fielding, a descendent of Fidelia, is the Mohegan Tribal Linguist. She has spent years studying and analyzing these diaries, and has used them to reconstruct the Mohegan language. This reconstruction has resulted in the creation of a modern Mohegan dictionary, which is available online. Stephanie Fielding now offers Mohegan-Pequot language classes to Mohegans and other local Native tribes.
Attached you will find a PDF image of Fidelia's diary entry dated May 30, 1904. This is a snapshot of one of her original diaries. In addition, I have attached Stephanie Fielding's transcription and translation, which includes Frank Speck's transcription and translation, and a translation into modern-day Mohegan.
Fidelia Fielding was Christian, while also maintaining a Mohegan worldview. When reading her diary, these things become apparent. Fidelia loved nature, animals, and God (Mondu) and frequently wrote about these things in her diary. Mundu (Mondu) is the Mohegan word for the creator, but here Fidelia utilizes it to mean both the Christian God and the Mohegan creator. Her Mohegan name, Dji'ts Bud dnaca, "Flying Bird" is appropriate as her love of birds is also demonstrated in this diary entry.
Fidelia Fielding, Frank Speck, Stephanie Fielding
Cornell University Libraries, Smithsonian Institution
May 30, 1904
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