A comparative study of the evolution of tribal governance at Mashantucket Pequot and Mashpee Wampanoag

Date of Completion

January 2007


Anthropology, Cultural|Native American Studies




Contemporary Native American tribes of southern New England have been subjected to multiple waves of colonization, warfare, and disease, yet still manage to persist. This persistence is due not just to their adaptive ability in relation to the changes in their physical environment but also to their ability to change and adapt to the new social and political order in which they live. This dissertation is a study of how two of these tribes---the Mashantucket Pequot of Connecticut and the Mashpee Wampanoag of Massachusetts---have adapted the structure of their governments to deal with various colonial, state, town, and federal entities. It is a study of both change and continuity, as these tribes chose what worked, and discarded failed strategies in order to ensure their survival.^