JAMES QUINN: We've lost so much over the years, and then when you have a chance to bring some of it back, it's just absolutely an amazing gift, really. Grateful. And yeah. It's very heartfelt. It's very emotional.
LYNN MALERBA: In our Mohegan beliefs, when someone creates something, whether it's the written word or whether it's a bowl or a piece of wampum, you imbue your spirit into those objects. And we knew that Fidelia really wasn't keeping her diaries and her documents for the Mohegans of that present day that she was in, but it really was to leave a legacy behind for future generations. Fidelia knew that she needed to preserve that language and those words. And so her work is extremely important to us, because as we look at restoring our language now, just having her documents and her spirit come home to us is going to be very meaningful to our entire community.
ANNE SAUER: It was clear that having the diaries with the Mohegan [? Tribe ?] as they work on this language project would be critical for its success. So we're pleased that we'll be able to transfer them.
MICHELE HAMILL: In preparation for the transport of the collection to Connecticut, every item was given an individual protective enclosure, which helps buffer any changes in the environment that they might experience along that journey. And then they're consolidated inside the custom-made clamshell box, which gives it physical and chemical protection during that time.
GERALD R. BEASLEY: We temporarily look after materials. That's what we do.
JAMES QUINN: So we're very grateful that they're coming home in such good condition and proper care all these years.
GERALD R. BEASLEY: It's a privilege and an honor for us.
LYNN MALERBA: We just are still, I guess, awestruck at the fact that we're able to receive her words back into our community.
JAMES QUINN: [? She's ?] going home.
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In 2004, Cornell acquired the diaries of Fidelia Flying Bird Fielding, the last fluent speaker of the Mohegan-Pequot language. The diaries were purchased as part of the Huntington Free Library's Native American Collection. This week Cornell returned her papers to her descendants.