(“Chingachgook, le Gros Serpent”)
Bronze edition: 7 | Height: 34″ (with base)
James Fenimore Cooper’s fictional character, Chingachgook was supposedly the “last” of the Mohicans. They were called “Mahican” from the Dutch ‘Mahikander’, meaning ‘river people’ and their homeland was along much of the Hudson River Valley. An Algonkian people, they became trading partners with the Dutch who founded Ft. Orange (Albany) in 1614, and were traditional enemies of the Mohawk. Thought much reduced in numbers and power by the early 1700’s, they continued to be valuable scouts for the English throughout the French & Indian Wars, including a substantial number who served gallantly under Major Robert Rogers as Rangers. By that time (i.e., 1757-1760) the main group had settled near present-day Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and so became known as the “Stockbridge Indians”, whose descendants now live for the most part in Brothertown, Wisconsin.
Of Chingachgook, Cooper describes him thus: “The fierceness of his countenance now seemed to slumber, and in its place was to be seen the quiet, vacant composure which distinguishes an Indian warrior when his faculties are not required for any of the greater purposes of his existence … (his) name (the Franch called him ‘Le Gros Serpent’) signifies big serpent, not that he is a snake, but that he understands the windings and turnings of human nature and is silent and strikes his enemies when they least expect it”.