Smith, Fidelia Ann Hoscott , 1827 - 1908
Fidelia Ann Hoscott Smith [Fielding] [Dji’ts Bud dnaca (“Flying Bird”)] was the daughter of Bartholomew Valentine Smith (c. 1811-1843) and Sarah A. Wyyougs (1804-1868) of Mohegan, Connecticut and the wife of Mohegan mariner William H. Fielding (1822-1889). The couple had no children of their own but raised John Leach and Alonzo Cooper, sons of fellow Mohegan Amy Cooper. Fidelia is recognized as a significant Mohegan cultural figure, being a repository of oral tribal traditions passed down from Martha Shantup Uncas (1761-1859) and the last fluent speaker of the Mohegan Pequot language. Her diaries in Mohegan are at Cornell University Library and were translated by the anthropologist Frank Speck, who lived with her briefly when he was a child. She was remembered by Gladys Tantaquidegon in the following way:
Fidelia Fielding was the last speaker of our Mohegan-Pequot dialect…she and her grandmother Martha Uncas lived together and were said to have the Indian tongue used more than English…She lived about a mile east of our house. It was the last of the log houses on the reservation and she used to refer to it as a “tribe house”…She was what we would think of a true full blood Indian type. She was a little over five feet tall and a little bit on the medium build. She had jet black hair, black eyes, high cheekbones, and used to wear a calico dress and in cool weather she wore capes. She didn’t participate in Green Corn Festival [Mohegan Wigwam Celebrations] and meetings of the women in their [Church Sewing] society meeting. She was very much a loner, very much to herself. Fidelia was not pleased with non-Indian neighbors… I’ve heard that in several instances children in school were expected to learn English and forget all about their Indian cultural background, and if some of the older Indian women were speaking, like Fidelia, and some of the younger children appeared, they would cease talking because they didn’t want the children to be punished for learning the [Mohegan] language… It was she [Fidelia] who left [me] that very old belt that I wear with my Indian dress. It had belonged to her grandmother Martha Uncas.
Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel, The Story Trail of Voices.