The Mohegan Tribe


The Pipe Carrier performs duties related to Mohegan traditions and ceremonies.

Other Tribal leaders help maintain Mohegan traditions and customs.

Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel, Medicine Woman and Tribal Historian
Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum, Pipe Carrier
Jay Iholff “Two Trees”, Tribal Firekeeper


pic_melissaMelissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel, Medicine Woman and Tribal Historian

Medicine Woman Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel has taken a very active role in the cultural and historical concerns of the Mohegan Tribe since her childhood in Uncasville, Connecticut and was appointed as Medicine Woman in April 2008. Her great-aunt, Medicine Woman Dr. Gladys Tantaquidgeon, trained her in Tribal oral tradition, traditional lifeways and spiritual beliefs.

After graduating from The Williams School in New London, Connecticut, she moved to Washington, D.C. where she earned a B.S.F.S. in history/diplomacy from Georgetown University. She also holds an M.A. in history from the University of Connecticut and an M.F.A. from Fairfield University in creative writing..

Tantaquidgeon Zobel’s writing on Native issues has been a constant in her life. In 1992, she won the first annual Non-Fiction Award of the Native Writer’s Circle of the Americas, for her manuscript The Lasting of the Mohegans (Mohegan: Little People Publications, 1995). Shortly after that, Zobel became the first American Indian appointed by Governor Weicker to the Connecticut Historical Commission. In 1996, she received the first annual Chief Little Hatchet Award, granted for contributions to the success and survival of the Mohegan people. Zobel has written several other  books, including Medicine Trail: The Life and Lessons of Gladys Tantaquidgeon (University of Arizona Press, 2000) and a traditional Mohegan children’s story co-authored with Joseph Bruchac, entitled Makiawisug: The Gift of the Little People (Mohegan: Little People Publications, 1997). She is one of several Mohegan authors included in the anthology Dawnland Voices (University of Nebraska Press, 2014). Zobel has also authored novels involving mystery and supernatural elements in a Native context, including Oracles, (University of New Mexico Press, 2004) Fire Hollow (Raven’s Wing Books, 2010).  Wabanaki Blues, is a young adult mystery novel reflecting contemporary Native American issues in New England which will be published in June of 2015 by Poisoned Pen Press.   

Melissa is the daughter of Mohegan Nonner Jayne Fawcett and Dr. Richard Fawcett, and the mother of three adult children who continued to maintain the family’s Native concerns in the areas of Indian research, theater, and law.  She is married to her high school sweetheart Randy Zobel and lives in Mystic, Connecticut.

Bruce regaliaBruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum, Pipe Carrier and Tribal Councilor

In addition to his service to the Mohegan Tribal Council, Bruce “Two Dogs” Bozsum is an appointed ceremonial pipe carrier for the Mohegan Tribe. The title of pipe carrier is a long-honored Mohegan tradition, and Bruce was given the title following his work as a manager of the Tribe’s Cultural and Community Programs department in the early 2000s. The pipe carrier takes part in important ceremonies and milestone events for the Tribe, such as weddings, funerals, and tribal blessings. Bruce is a self-taught indigenous flutist, and has contributed his musical talents to many tribal events. 

His tribal roots extend back to the Mohegan leader Mary Tracy Fielding Story, and he is also the grandson of the late Joseph D. Gray, Sr.  His uncle Joseph D. Gray, Jr. served as Chairman of the Mohegan Council of Elders and was also a member of the Mohegan Veterans Association.   

Firekeeper Jay IhloffJay Iholff “Two Trees”, Tribal Firekeeper

Jay Iholff “Two Trees” was appointed as Tribal Firekeeper in July of 2008.   The firekeeper maintains the sacred fire and oversees the Tribe’s fire pit for religious and ceremonial purposes.