The Potatuck tribe (also Pohtatuck, Pootatuck) were a Native American tribe that was a subgroup of the Paugussett Nation, historically located during and prior to the colonial era in western Connecticut, United States. They lived in what is present-day Newtown, Woodbury and Southbury of Fairfield County, and along the whole Housatonic River, including the Schaghticoke tribe.[1] After losses due to epidemics and warfare, they merged in the early eighteenth century with other remnant Native American groups in the area, forming the Schaghticoke tribe. Its descendants are recognized as a tribe by the state of Connecticut.

The Golden Hill Paugussett Indian Nation, made up of Paugussett descendants in Bridgeport, is also one of the five tribes recognized by the state in the 21st century.

Like the other Paugussett bands or sub-tribes, the Potatuck were a farming and fishing culture. The women cultivated varieties of their staple crops, corn, squash, and beans, as well as the tobacco valued for ritual use. They also gathered berries, nuts and other natural resources. The men fished in freshwater much of the year, and hunted deer and small game. They may have traveled to the coast of Long Island Sound to fish from saltwater in summer months.[2]

Post-encounter history

Many of the remnant Potatuck amalgamated with survivors of the Weantinock, Mohegan and other indigenous people, after losses due to epidemics and warfare from European colonization pressures. They formed the Schaghticoke tribe in western Connecticut and eastern New York. The Connecticut colony granted them a 2500-acre reservation in 1736, with territory on both sides of the Housatonic River. Through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, state-appointed agents sold off essentially all the land to the east, reducing the reservation to about 400 acres of territory on the west bank of the river.[3]

The descendants known as the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation gained federal recognition in 2004, but it was revoked the following year after a state appeal and further Bureau of Indian Affairs review.[4][5] In 2011, the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation was recognized by a state court as the governing authority and legitimate legal successor to the historic tribe.[5]


  1. Raacke, Peg (April 28, 1977). "Town History: Housatonic Valley Indians". Citizen News (New Fairfield).
  2. Charles W. Brilvitch (2007). A History of Connecticut's Golden Hill Paugussett Tribe. The History Press. pp. 13–14. ISBN 978-1-59629-296-3.
  3. Gale Courey Toensing, "Schaghticoke Tribal Nation Continues Land Rights Struggle", Indian Country Today, 31 December 2012
  4. "Schaghticoke and Eastern Pequot decisions reversed" Archived 2005-12-11 at the Wayback Machine, Indian Country Today, 2005
  5. Gale Courey Toensing, "Schaghticoke Tribal Nation Seeks to Regain Rightful Status", Indian Country, 31 May 2011, accessed 17 March 2013
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