TANTAQUIDGEON, Gladys Mohegan Medicine Woman Gladys Iola Tantaquidgeon passed away peacefully at her home Tuesday morning (November 1, 2005) on Mohegan Hill. She was 106 years old at the time of her passing---the oldest living member of the Mohegan Tribe. Born on June 15, 1899 to John and Harriet Fielding Tantaquidgeon (both Mohegan Indians), she was the third of the family's seven children. Gladys was predeceased by sisters Lillian, Winifred and Ruth and brothers Earl, Burrill and Chief Harold Tantaquidgeon. Educated in tribal spirituality and herbalism by her "tribal grandmothers" Lydia Fielding, Mercy Ann Nonesuch Mathews and Emma Baker, Gladys briefly attended grammar school before entering the University of Pennsylvania in 1919, where she studied with Anthropologist Frank Speck and wrote in the field of anthropology. She expanded her Mohegan pharmacopeia by researching herbal medicine among related east coast tribes, including the Delaware, Nanticoke, Cayuga and Wampanoag. Her best-known work is A Study of Delaware Indian Medicine Practice and Folk Beliefs , currently reprinted as Folk Medicine of the Delaware and Related Algonkian Indians [1972, 1995]. In 1987, she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Connecticut and one from Yale in 1994. Her other honors include the Connecticut Education Association's Friend of Education Award, The Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame, the National Organization for Women's Harriet Tubman Award, and numerous Native American honors. In 1931 she co-founded Tantaquidgeon Indian Museum along with her brother Harold and father John. It is the oldest Indian owned and operated museum in America. She shared her brother's philosophy that education was the best cure for prejudice. "You can't hate someone that you know a lot about." In 1934, she was recruited by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, John Collier, to serve as a community worker on the Yankton Sioux reservation in South Dakota, and from 1938-1947 she worked to promote Indian art as a specialist for the newly-formed Federal Indian Arts and Crafts Board in the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming. Part of this Native art revival included the bolstering of ancient ceremonials, for which certain Native artistic/ ceremonial objects were required. The Sundance and the Rain Dance had been previously prohibited by the federal government and part of Tantaquidgeon's job was to encourage the restoration of these and other previously prohibited ancient practices. During the 1940's, Gladys worked as the librarian at the Niantic Women's prison, where she felt that her previous work with reservation families had sensitized her to the needs of women in difficult situations. In the 1990's, Gladys' extraordinary personal records of correspondence regarding Mohegan births, graduations, marriages and deaths were critical to proving the Mohegan case for Federal Recognition in 1994. On March 7th of this year, on the eleventh anniversary of that recognition, she was asked if she had any messages to share with her people, to which she responded, "We all have to stand in love for the tribe." She is survived by her Mohegan Tribal Family. The graveside funeral for Mohegan Medicine Woman Gladys Tantaquidgeon will take place on Sunday, November 6 at Shantok, on the Mohegan Reservation in Uncasville. A walking processional to Shantok will begin at 10 a.m. at Tantaquidgeon Indian Museum, 1819 Norwich New London Turnpike, Uncasville. Elders are encouraged to ride to the site. Those who do wish to walk may leave their cars at Shantok and be shuttled to the processional origin point at the museum, so their cars will be available for them, afterward, at the funeral site. Shuttles will be available from 8:30-9:30 a.m. The Montville Funeral Home of Church and Allen, Rte 32 Montville, is entrusted with arrangements.