It was during his fieldwork with the Mohegans in Connecticut that Speck met …Gladys Tantaquidgeon CCT’29, who was being groomed as the tribe’s next medicine woman and the keeper of its customs and culture. She was also to become the first Native American student in the Penn anthropology department.
…With her father and brother, she cofounded the Tantaquidgeon Museum to house many of the gifts she received during her fieldwork, including a Penobscot birchbark canoe, donated by Speck. Founded on her belief that “you can’t hate someone you know a lot about,” it is the oldest Native American-owned museum in the United States. It also was a critical piece in proving the Mohegan tribe’s continuity when, in 1978, Congress created a federal recognition process for designating sovereignty.
…Bruchac calls Tantaquidgeon a “groundbreaking ethnologist” and “an Indigenous visionary who blended anthropological research with traditional training and community activism to preserve Mohegan cultural patrimony.”