The Roving Reader Files
Do you remember Gladys Tantaquidgeon? It’s certainly a name to conjure with…
This time I’m taking you on a journey back to when I shared my reflections on this amazing woman’s unique experience over a lifetime spanning the whole of the twentieth century (the blog post is reproduced below). As a Native American ‘Medicine Woman’ from the Mohegan Tribe she preserved the wisdom of her people, celebrating an approach to life which had all but vanished due to long centuries of persecution. As a university-educated academic and anthropologist, she specialised in collecting the lore of other tribes and interpreting it for a sceptical ‘scientific’ audience.
When I wrote about Gladys back in 2016, I tried to capture in words the dignity she and her people had shown in extreme adversity. Now I’d like to share with you a video I came across recently celebrating her 100th birthday in 1999, so we can all get to know this gentle but strong woman, who straddled two worlds it may have seemed impossible to reconcile.
Gladys died in November 2005 aged 106, having lived to see the rights of the Mohegan people to their ancestral lands recognised at last in US Federal law.