Mohegan take possession of historical boulder, land 7-07

MONTVILLE, Conn. (AP) - The Mohegan tribe has taken possession of
Cochegan Rock, a massive boulder where tribal leaders once held their
council meetings in the 1600s.

The Mohegan tribe bought the roughly 90 acres from the Connecticut
Rivers Council of the Boy Scouts of America, completing the transfer.


Tribal Council member Mark Brown said the tribe paid $200,000 dollars
for the rock and 92 wooded acres of land around it.

The transaction allows for future use of the property by the Scouts
as well as the possibility of limited improvements by the tribe to
the site.

Tribal officials consider the rock an important piece of their
heritage - the 17th-century chief Uncas, who founded the Mohegan
tribe and made peace with the colonists, may have held tribal
councils there.

Lynn Malerba, the vice chairwoman of the Mohegans, said the tribe
will most likely hold a ceremony at the rock during its annual
festival in August.

"It's a sacred site," said Malerba. "The Boy Scouts were extremely
sensitive to us in terms of how important this rock and that place
was to us, so we're very, very grateful to them. We believe it's a
very historic day."

Cochegan Rock is set back in the hills and trees a few hundred feet
west of Interstate 395, a mile south of Norwich. A path is lined by
rows of ancient mountain laurel and 18th century gravestones dot the

Cochegan Rock was proclaimed New England's largest boulder after it
was measured in the 1870s by Harvard University scientists, who
calculated it at 176,000 cubic feet.

The most recent measurement, in 1986, showed the rock at 54 feet
long, 50 feet tall and 58 feet wide, and weighing 7,000 tons.