Faith Davison, noted Mohegan archivist, dies

Mohegan — Faith Davison, a retired archivist and researcher who helped preserve the Mohegan Tribe’s cultural history, died Friday. She was 78.

Davison, a Mohegan tribal member, was honored in 2013 with a prestigious Guardian of Culture and Lifeways Award from the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums.

"Ms. Davison played a major role in the creation and development of the Mohegan Tribal Archives," read the citation that accompanied the award. "Using her talents for research and her knowledge of history, both tribal and colonial, Ms. Davison was instrumental in the acquisition and repatriation of Mohegan cultural properties."

Following her retirement in 2010, she continued to write, lecture, research and consult. She wrote the forward to a history of Connecticut tribes and was a founding member of the Board of Advisers of the Yale Indian Papers Project. In an online post Sunday, the Yale project’s blog described Davison as “a font of knowledge about Native history and presence in Southern New England.”

In a 2013 interview with The Day, Davison said she started taking classes at what was then Mohegan Community College when she was in her 30s. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree at Connecticut College and a master’s in library sciences at the University of Rhode Island.

She worked at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she catalogued the Rosenfeld Collection of maritime photographs, and at the Mystic & Noank Library.

The Mohegan Tribe's library had 47 volumes when it hired Davison in 1997. When she retired 13 years later, the Mohegan Library and Archives held some 7,000 volumes, including works by Native American authors, both fiction and nonfiction, and books about Native American tribes and the history of the region.

In 2011, the Mohegan Council of Elders named Davison a “nonner,” a status conferred on female tribal members who have established a record of outstanding service to the tribe.

Davison raised three sons. Other information, including funeral arrangements, was unavailable.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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