Aurelius Piper, Sr., chief of Connecticut’s Golden Hill Paugussett tribe, died two weeks ago at the age of 92 in the tribe’s reservation in Trumbull. Piper was a great advocate for the rights of Native Americans and other minority groups, both locally in Connecticut and abroad.
The small Paugussett tribe has been recognized by Connecticut State for over 300 years, though never by the federal government, and recently the tribe filed claims to more than 700,000 acres of land from our very own Middletown, CT, down to lower Westchester County in New York. The claims were dropped, but could have remained had the tribe achieved federal recognition.
The tribe was also involved in an altercation with the government in 1993, in which the tribe attempted to sell untaxed cigarettes on the reservation. This resulted in a 10-week armed standoff between the Colchester faction of the tribe and the state police.
A complicated history. Here’s a rough Google map of what might still be Paugussett land in an alternate universe:
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