Jayne Fawcett has lived in Mohegan all of her life and always was involved in Mohegan affairs. She grew up on the homesite of the Reverend Samson Occum, first American Indian minister in the United States. Her childhood was largely spent with her mother’s family, who operate the oldest Indian-run museum in the United States, the Tantaquidgeon Indian Museum. Here she was taught to value Mohegan culture by her aunt, medicine woman Gladys Tantaquidgeon, and her uncle, the late Chief Tantaquidgeon. In those days, Mohegan was a very small rural community.
After receiving her B.A. from the University of Connecticut, Jayne worked for a short period of time as a social worker for the Division of Child Welfare of the State of Connecticut, and then serviced the towns of Montville and Ledyard as a teacher for 27 years. In 1978, she became a founding member of the new, constitutionally elected Mohegan Tribal Council, and in 1990 was elected Chairman of the Constitutional Review Board, otherwise known as the Council of Elders, the Tribe’s judicial branch. Shortly thereafter, Jayne returned to the Tribal Council, where she served as its Secretary. In December of 1995, Jayne’s position as Vice Chair of the Mohegan Tribal Council became full time as she took on the additional role of the Tribe’s public relations representative.
Jayne has served as Chair of the Montville Indian Parent Committee, and project coordinator of an Indian education grant with the Montville school system. With education as a major focus, she has been an instructor and lecturer on Mohegan culture at Project Learn and various Connecticut schools and universities, in addition to serving on curriculum committees for the local multicultural school, and the Ledyard and Norwich public schools. She also served on Eastern Connecticut State University’s Multicultural Advisory Committee and was an advisor for the projected Native American Studies Program at the University of Connecticut. She is a former advisory board member and panelist at the Institute for Native American Studies. Her publications include an article written with her aunt, Gladys Tantaquidgeon on Mohegan basketry in A Key to the Language of Woodsplint Baskets, and native American poetry.
In addition to Jayne’s current duties as Ambassador, she sits on the board of directors and is Treasurer of the United South and Eastern Tribes, Inc. Jayne enjoys music and is the volunteer organist at the Mohegan Church. A song written by her and another Tribal member, Bruce Bozsum, was sung at the Ground Blessing of Mohegan Sun Casino. (Source: The Institute for Tribal Government)