Dartmouth College to return Samson Occom papers to tribe

Apr 4, 2022, 3:44 PM | Updated: 4:14 pm

HANOVER, N.H. (AP) — Dartmouth College will return the papers of Samson Occom to a Mohegan cultural center in Connecticut where Occom was a minister and a member of the Mohegan Tribe, the college’s President Philip Hanlon said.

Occom had traveled to Europe to fundraise money for the preacher Eleazar Wheelock’s school for Native students. But when Occum returned home in 1763, he found that Wheelock had appropriated the thousands of dollars he collected for a college for white settlers, which years later would become Dartmouth, The Lebanon Valley News reported Sunday.

Sarah Harris, a Dartmouth alum and the vice chairperson of the Mohegan Tribal Council, said “with the return of his papers, Occom is coming back to our homelands and our people.”

Occom’s papers, written in five languages including Mohegan, will be incorporated in the tribe’s Mohegan Language Project which will be used to revive the language in the community, Harris said.

The documents’ return is a part of efforts by the college’s Native American Visiting Committee that proposed to Hanlon it give back the documents last year.

There will be a repatriation ceremony at the Mohegan Church in Uncasville, Connecticut, on April 27, the newspaper reported.

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Dartmouth College to return Samson Occom papers to tribe