We've run into two couples from Connecticut over the summer who both raved about the Indian casinos here. Normally, we despise casinos. If I'm going to put a quarter in a machine, it's because I'm going to get a newspaper or some clean laundry in return. However, we do want to revisit Mystic Seaport which is located nearby and the fact that the casinos encourage free RV parking brought us to the Mohegan Sun for a few nights. Although we are parked in a spacious lot, the windows overlook the Thames River and it is easy to forget where we are.
The Mohegan and the Pequot were the local indian tribes here and were among the first to die as the descendants of the Pilgrims moved a bit west. Some died or were enslaved in war with the Puritans, but more succumbed to the white man's diseases, smallpox in particular. By 1910 there were only 66 Pequot remaining. In 1983 their descendants signed a treaty with President Reagan and got back some of their land here. Currently, 1,250 acres comprise the Mashantucket Pequot Nation land base. Although they tried a number of money making activities, things didn't really get cooking until 1992 with the establishment of Foxwoods Resort Casino affiliated with the MGM Grand. The Mohegan tribe had a similar unsatisfactory relationship with the white man and even today only number about 1,700 members. But revenge is sweet. They built the Mohegan Sun casino and are fleecing the white man big time. None of them will ever have to work again.
The Mohegan Sun complex reminds us of many we've seen in Las Vegas lavish in scale and beautifully decorated in a pseudo Indian sort of way. I especially liked the birch bark like wallpaper. The smell of cigarette smoke hit us as we walked in the door. One forgets how pervasive that smell used to be. In a bow to good health, one corner of the casino is smoke free. Buses pull up to the front entrance unloading gamblers eager to be parted from their cash. Plenty of activity even for a Tuesday night. The mall area had many tony shops selling designer clothes and jewelry and there are many restaurant choices. Since we have no utility hookups in the free parking lot, we just might have to take advantage of that buffet. That will be our sole economic contribution to the Indian Nation.