Many times , Tribal Councilors, Council of Elders, and government officials use the words: family, tribe, sovereignity, and government. They interchange the words, but they don't always mean the same thing.
Here from Webster's New World Dictionary on the meansings.
Tribe -n. 1) a group of people living together under a chief...2) group or class---tribal...n-tribesman ....n pl men
family n., plural-ties.....1) parents and their children...2)relatives.....3) lineage...4) a group of related things
government n. 1) control; rule....2) system of ruling.....3) those who rule
sovereign a. 1) chief supreme.....2) independent-n ...n-1) monarch...2) former Br. gold coin.....sovereignity n; pl: ties
A tribe can be made up of a large family, in other words everyone is related to each other somehow. Each family can run it's own affairs. Not every family is raised (disciplined) the same way. There are standards of respect and so on that are required of the members.
Didn't Uncas, leave the Pequots, because he did not like the way he was treated. Was it the discipline or the structure of their government, or what?
Now, to today. The Mohegan Tribe was fragmented, because of the bad economy and the selling of the Mohegan Reservation in the late 1800's. By the turn of the century, many Mohegans moved to other places to survive. They went to New York, Florida, as far away as Hawaii. The next generation of Mohegans grew up under different kinds of living conditions, and raised differently from the people who were raised in Connecticut. Their values and believes were different. What was okay for one person was not okay for another.
The Mohegan Tribe received Federal Recognition because we were a tribe, a nation, a sovereignity, a government. We never received recognition because we were a family. This is just not true.
We, (Mohegan Tribal Members), have been told that by Oral Tradition and history, that this or that was the way it was. The reality is, it depends on who you talk to. Some people say it was this way and others say it was that way.
That is why today, governments don't run on Oral Tradition, but instead on written laws and written policies. In courts oral contracts don't count without both parties agree on the terms of the contract in court. In courts it is the written laws and written policies that count.
In my opinion, instead of the Mohegan Government being secretive, abusive, punative, and dicitorial, it should be more understanding and rehabilative of it's members. In my opinion, many of the problems, the Mohegan Tribe are experiencing are being directed from the Tribal Council and the Council of Elders. They have failed us. They have not lead us but instead are trying to bully us. The government is not proactive but instead reactive.
Now you have the meanings of family, tribe, government, and sovereignity. Does any of this information apply, to us the Mohegan Tribe? What do you think?