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MONTVILLE, Conn., Nov 2, 2005 (UPI via COMTEX) -- Gladys Tantaquidgeon, regarded as the most respected leader of the Mohegan Indian tribe, died at her Montville, Conn., home at the age of 106.
A woman without a high school diploma, she later became an anthropologist and ethnobotanist, writing extensively about Americans Indians, reports the Hartford (Conn.) Courant.
A medicine woman who never married, she helped found a tribal museum. Later, her records and knowledge of tribal history and culture helped the Mohegans win federal recognition in 1994, the report said.
Born on Mohegan land in 1899, Tantaquidgeon was a descendant of Uncas, the famous Mohegan sachem. She enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania, where renowned anthropologist Frank Speck took an interest in her intellect. Her research work led her to study the herbal medicine of numerous tribes.
"We still use her work regularly. It is just a standard," said Kevin McBride, anthropology professor at the University of Connecticut.
"She was the history of the tribe," said another admirer. "She was the backbone of the tribe."
Copyright 2005 by United Press International