Ana Flores


Ana Flores Rhode Island www.art-farm.net

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And they walked with the forest, 2010

The land at I-Park has a beauty and energy that must have also been very special to the indigenous people who lived here before the arrival of the Europeans. My interest in their history led me to the East Haddam library. I was fortunate to be there on a day when the town historian was doing research. He pointed out what he felt was one of the better histories of the area. It was entitled, The History Of The Indians Of Connecticut: From The Earliest Known Period To 1850. It was one of the earlier works written by John William De Forest whose dates were May 31,1826 to July 17, 1906. De Forest was born in Connecticut to a prosperous cotton manufacturer, he went on to write fiction and served in the Civil War. Certain quotes from the book, which I have included below, inspired my commemorative sculpture to the Mohegans and the history box I installed at I-Park in the spring of 2010. I mourn that we have no written account from their perspective about the invasion of the Europeans and the loss of their tribal lands and life. From Introduction: It is a little more than two hundred years since this land now inhabited by a populous, civilized and Christian community, was entirely possessed by a few barbarous tribes of a race which seems to be steadily fading from existence …Their government was rude and founded solely upon custom,their religion was a singular system of paganism without idolatry; their character was ferocious, yet not undistinguished by virtues: and their mode of life was precarious and unsettled, dependent almost wholly for susitence upon fishing and the chase. Some of these tribes are already laid in the grave; some have broken up and wandered away from the land of their fathers; and some, reduced to mere fragments still cling, like ghosts, around their ancient habitations. From the section on the Mohegans who lands were watered by the Connecticut River Oweneco, once proud Mohegan warrior and sachem who in youth and early manhood fought against the Pocomtock, the Pokanoket, and Narrangansett, became in his old age a mere vagabond- sadly afflicted by alcoholism. With his blanket, his gun, his squaw and a pack on his back, he used to often wander about the white man settlements adjacent to Mohegan. To strangers unable to understand his imperfect English, he sometimes presented a doggerel petition which has been written for him by a settler named Bushnell which read:
Oneco, king, his queen doth bring, To beg a little food: As they go along his friends among To try how kind, how good.Some pork, some beek, for their relief, And if you can’t spare bread, She’ll thank you for pudding, as they go a gooding. And carry it on her head.
(the last line refers to an Indian mode of carrying burdens by a metomo or bag, hanging down the back and supported by a strap passing over the forehead.) Oweneco died in 1715 aged seventy or 75 years.  
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Soul of the Exile and Soul Shadow, 2008 Open House: The Pond

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