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"Understanding others is understanding yourself."  

 


Mageepa

Stay tuned for more info about this exciting project.  Need info now...email discoverbluestar@comcast.net


The Expansion Project

Christopher Cameron, keyboards and synthesizers

Jim Cole, Multi tonal singer

The Expansion project is a unique blend of multi-tonal singing, sequenced sounds, didgeridoo, flutes, steel cello and an assortment of percussion instruments blending to produce deep musical journeys and meditations. The music is created on the concept of using the sustain and vibration that resonates after a note is struck.

 

 

Listen here

John Boiano, percussion est.

 

 

Pete Onofrio, Didgeridoo, flutes, percussion, vocals


Currently one of the most exciting projects in progress is the opportunity to work with Bruce “Nis Náhtia” (Two Dogs) Bozsum from the Mohegan Tribe.  We are working together, using our traditional music, to bring people a better understanding of old cultures. 

 

We met at a benefit performance on the Green in Madison.

Click for detail

Also at this performance I had the pleasure of playing with Peter Hadley a composer, musician and professor at Wesleyan University.

 

Together we performed at the Peabody Museum at Yale University for Indigenous Peoples WeekendIt was an event that  took place over Columbus Day weekend and celebrated the cultures encountered by Columbus, as well as other indigenous cultures that have been influenced by colonial practices of the last few hundred years.

 

Bruce “Nis Náhtia” Bozsum

Bruce “Two Dogs” was born on Friday the thirteenth in May of 1960. He is the grandson of Joseph and Edith Gray, whose grandmother was Mary Tracy Fielding Story, a descendant of the famous Mohegan Chief Uncas. Bruce is also an appointed ceremonial pipe carrier, a long honored tradition of his people. His great uncle Lloyd Gray kept Mohegan traditions alive in the in the 1930’s by going to schools and scouting groups to show them crafts and lore. Bruce Bozsum, following in his great uncle’s footprints, is the Director of Cultural and Community Programs for the tribe.  “This is the most important job that I have ever had, keeping the traditions alive within our tribal community.” Educational programs on the reservation and around New England are some of the duties that he performs. “Teaching our children the importance of culture and the need for self preservation is a great task.” Bruce is the head of the Mohegan Language Restoration Project. “Our last fluent speaker died in 1908; we hope to have our children become the next generation of Mohegan speakers.  Bruce is a self-taught, indigenous flutist. “Drumming and singing is something that I love to do every day.  Music is one of the most important ways to help heal ourselves. Dancing is something that I teach to my children, it helps to keep the bond of our ancestors with us.” Bruce is responsible for passing on the traditions of music and dance to the young people in the tribe that he learned at tribal elder, Red Moon’s knee. “Everyday I make it a point to spend time with my elders; and each day I learn more from them.”

 

One of Carol Gray’s seven children, Bruce believes that his greatest accomplishment is the five children that he is jointly responsible for bringing into this world. “They are evidence of our survival as a People, and if those five children each have five children, then we can ensure that the survival of the Mohegan People will continue for many more generations.”
 

Mohegan Tribe Today

Today, the Mohegan number over 1500. We may be found living in many countries, with the majority of us still in New England. We are well represented in different occupations and professions. We subscribe to a variety of religions. On the surface, Mohegans would seem no different from our neighbors of other ethnic backgrounds; indeed, we often unite with our neighbors in common causes for our community. We have fought by their side in every war since the Colonial beginnings. One of the big differences between us and our neighbors is that we know from whence we sprang and can recite our genealogies which link our People together.  Another is that our hearts are in Shantok, the historic center of our lands. The State of Connecticut took Shantok, through the power of eminent domain in the 1920’s, and turned it into a public park (In the 1960-‘s, if I wanted to go visit our burial ground, I had to pay a park entrance fee.) Happily, we were allowed to buy Shantok back from the State in 1998. For many of us, this was perhaps the most momentous thing that has come from Federal Recognition and our economic pursuits.

Through the centuries, we have maintained a tribal structure, having one voice when it was necessary to pursue justice in British and Colonial courts, as we would when Connecticut became a state…and gathering together for our holidays. One surviving celebration is the Green Corn Festival which would take place for the first harvest of corn early in August. Today, we call it our ‘Homecoming,’ and we hold it a week before the Wigwam Festival, which is now a powwow open to the public. The Wigwam Festival was once the means to raise funds for the Mohegan Church and for Mohegan activities, and was held in September, after the harvest.  Nowadays, it gives us an opportunity to share some aspects of our culture with the community at large.

We are currently in the process of restoring our language. The last fluent speaker of Mohegan was Fidelia Fielding, who died in 1908.  Through the use of known Mohegan words, compared with those Algonquin dialects of the people immediately around us, as well the construction and usage of the language by those Tribes who still have fluent speakers, we have been able to reconstruct our language. We are involved in making a series of interactive CDs as a teaching aid, with young people in mind. And once the youth discover that they can have a secret language, and then the adults will want to learn it.

What money we are currently earning is being devoted to education, health, and welfare. All Mohegan have the opportunity to go to either college or seek vocational training. The Tribe will pay for tuition and books. The student must hold a B+ average for continued support. We are all able to use our Tribe’s health insurance. For those of us who have health insurance through our employers, that one is used first and the Tribe’s insurance will pick up the remainder. For people who have always wanted to start their own business, the Tribe will make a low interest loan for start-up money, and also will make available advisors. Our Elderhousing project at Fort Hill, completed in 2002, is a complete complex - housing not only apartments for our Elders, but also services for them. We are all very excited about this! We also offer subsidized housing for those Tribal people who are incapacitated


 

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