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The 1851 letter.
The 1851 letter.

1851 letter holds more mystery than answers for Mohawks

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The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe is hoping an 1851 letter it recently acquired will shed light on ownership of former tribal land. But right now the document raises more questions than answers. The tribe bought the letter from Gregory Caron of Hopkinton for $1000. Caron bought it at an auction for the same price. The letter is written in dense legalese. It makes a case for British settlers to pay the tribe years of back rent for using Barnhart and Baxter Islands in the St. Lawrence River. The Mohawks owned the islands until they were ceded to the United States (without Mohawk consent) after the war of 1812. Today, Barnhart Island is the home of the massive New York Power Authority hydropower dam across the St. Lawrence. Arnold Printup is the historic preservation officer for the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe. He spoke to David Sommerstein about the letter and its significance.

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Arnold Printup tries to decipher the historic document.

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Reported by

David Sommerstein
Reporter/ Producer

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