In the 1730s, Mahicans along the Housatonic River settled the mission town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts. They participated in town meetings and elected “traditional” leaders to typical New England offices. Even after a growing population of English settlers began dominating town offices, the Indians remained a strong presence in meetings, which was conducted in the Mahican as well as English language, and all voting done viva voce. In 1763, a major battle when an English faction tried to take control by introducing secret balloting; the Indians complained and mostly won their case. Stockbridge thus provides a case study comparing Indian and colonial New England decision-making, and highlighting the evolution of the town meeting during the 18th century.
Viva Voce, Umpachene, Tithingman, Mtockson, Mahawk, Mahican, French and Indian War, Town Meeting
How to Cite
Mandell D., (2019) “Indigenous People and the New England Town Meeting: Stockbridge, Massachusetts, 1730-1775”, Journal of Public Deliberation 15(2). doi: https://doi.org/10.16997/jdd.333